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Ms. Emma Lee Starks Lewis Jenkins
February 18, 1934 – October 26, 2022

Columbia, South Carolina – Funeral services for Ms. Emma Jenkins will be held today, 11 a.m. at New Ebenezer Baptist Church, 1236 Gregg Street, Columbia with burial at Palmetto Cemetery. Emma Jenkins was born to the late Rev. Leroy Starks and the late Katie Etheridge on February 18, 1934. She died peacefully at her home on Wednesday, October 26, 2022.

Ms. Jenkins began her 39-year nursing career at the Old Columbia Hospital and retired as the Head Nurse of the first Outpatient Clinic built at Richland Memorial. One of her greatest accomplishments is participating in a legal battle with four other Black women resulting in the hire of the first Black nurse by the Veterans Hospital in Columbia.

A faithful member of the New Ebenezer Baptist Church for over 70 years, she served as a Sunday School Teacher/Superintendent; founding member of the Nurses’ Guild; and a member of the Missionaries. Civically, she was a member of the Columbia Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association and the Order of Eastern Stars, Esther Chapter 1, Ridgewood Lodge #630.

Surviving are four nieces and nephews, Rev. Karen V. Starks, Willie L. Starks, Jr. (Tonya); Janet L. Starks –all of Columbia, SC; and Audrey K. Starks Lane (Martin) of Charleston, SC; four great-nephews, Brandon Starks (Tanae), Reginald Starks, Moses Lane, and Micah Lane. She will also be fondly remembered by her long-term caregivers Christine E. Scott and Victoria Wilborn; and a host of cousins, extended family, church family, nursing colleagues, and friends.

Condolences for Ms. Jenkins can be made at

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