Jennie A. Denkin, 96, of Elkins Park, a matriarch and longtime volunteer, died Wednesday, Dec. 16, of heart failure at the Abramson Center for Jewish Life in North Wales.
Born Jennie Abramson in Philadelphia, Mrs. Denkin was described by her family as generous, loving, loyal, strong, and feisty.
"A tiny little thing, she was feisty till the week before she died. She was an amazingly independent woman," said daughter Elayne Bleznak.
Mrs. Denkin married Morris Denkin when she was 17. After he died in 1964, she devoted her life to family and volunteer work.
Her brood included three children, seven grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous great- and great-great nieces and nephews.
She was perhaps best known as a member of Einstein Medical Center's "gray ladies." The volunteers supported sick patients in any way they could. They wore gray nurse's uniforms with crisp white cuffs and cap.
Mrs. Denkin served on the Sisterhood's board of directors at the former Congregation Emanu-El in Philadelphia. Later, she joined Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park. She sold Israel Bonds.
Following the example of her mother, Anna Abramson, Mrs. Denkin volunteered at the Philadelphia Geriatric Center, which later became the Abramson Center, though its new name had no connection to her family.
For many years, she volunteered with Because We Care, an organization that creates and sends gift trays and food baskets to recipients in the Philadelphia area. The proceeds benefit the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
"Known for her delicious ginger snaps, beautifully wrapped packages, and cleaning prowess, Jennie was the first to arrive and the last to leave" when baskets needed to be assembled, the family said. "She loved both the work and her coworkers."
Mrs. Denkin spent the last few weeks at the Abramson Center receiving visits from relatives, the center's staff, and others who had heard about her and wanted to meet her.
"It was a real testament to the kind of person she was," Bleznak said.
Besides her daughter, Mrs. Denkin is survived by sons Stephen and Harvey; seven grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks Suburban North, 310 Second Street Pike, Southampton. Entombment is in Roosevelt Memorial Park.
Contributions may be made to the Abramson Center for Jewish Life, 1425 Horsham Rd., North Wales, Pa. 19454.