Posted August 18 2010, 2:27 AM PDT by Geoff Wood

A Humbling Experience

Posted in Community by Geoff Wood


It’s a humbling experience to sit down with a man like Ralph Jenkins. He’s seen more than most people. He’s done more, and given more. And he knows more. So when I have a chance to talk with Ralph, I ask a lot of questions and listen carefully.


Ralph was one of our very first agents. He joined Windermere in 1969, and was instrumental in shaping the company. He was with Windermere for 26 years, and his influence is still strongly felt. With his commitment to family and dedication to building relationships and community, Ralph set the bar very high.



Long before his real estate career, Ralph was a World War II fighter pilot who led the 510th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, known as Jenkins’ Jerry Junkers. The squadron flew P-47 “Thunderbolts,” and Ralph personally flew 129 combat missions. He later commanded a B-52 squadron, and retired as a full colonel.



Ralph and I talk a lot about our shared passion for flying. His stories about dive bombing, low-level attacks and anti-aircraft flak are riveting. More than once he returned to base wondering if he had enough fuel to make it. And on one occasion, he was forced to fly with the cockpit open because the plexiglas was covered with oil from enemy flak.



Ralph’s stories are historical treasures. He’s been on The History Channel and PBS. He is also featured at the Museum of Flight, and he has led groups around the Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field in Everett, where his P-47 vintage war plane, the Tallahassee Lassie, resides today.



I’ve learned a lot from Ralph — about flying, real estate and life.  He has seen many changes over the years.  He flew before jets. He worked in real estate before the Internet. He’s lived through economic booms and busts. He’s mentored generations of real estate agents, and helped countless families buy and sell homes. But some things have remained constant.  His life has been all about helping and protecting others, and building trust through teamwork — values that are at the core of Windermere.



Ralph Jenkins is a genuine hero.  Earlier this year he celebrated his 91st birthday, and all of us at Windermere send him our very best wishes.



Ralph, we are humbled to know you. And we are so proud to call you our friend.



1 Comment


  • Geoff, Great story, thank you for sharing! I have goose bumps still

    Posted August 19 2010, 6:02 AM by Tonya Brobeck