‘A true jewel of Shreveport’ has passed

Cynthia Hightower-Jenkins
Cynthia Hightower-Jenkins

“Cynthia Hightower-Jenkins was a true jewel of Shreveport who shared her wisdom and generosity with countless organizations and causes. She will be remembered for the compassion and love she always showed to others,” said Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins after the unexpected death of one of the city’s most revered and elegant businesswomen.

The wife of State Representative Sam L. Jenkins, Cynthia Hightower-Jenkins, 64, was a community activist, volunteer, and entrepreneur. She died Thursday, July 29, 2021, due to post knee surgery complications. Born May 10, 1957, she was the daughter of John Henry and Louise Allums Hightower and was well known in the Shreveport-Bossier City and Dallas, Texas as a business consultant, writer, and interior designer. Hundreds of memories have been shared on Facebook by people who knew her well and were shocked by her passing.

“She was the strength of our family and showed kindness to everyone she met. She was the wind beneath my wings. God has spoken, Amen,” said Rep. Jenkins who is also a practicing attorney.

On August 7, hundreds of mourners gathered at the municipal auditorium in Shreveport to celebrate her life. They wore masks and were physically distanced due to COVID restrictions.

Cynthia Renee Hightower-Jenkins was a woman of grace, elegance, distinction, intellect, impeccable character, and charm.

– Program Remembering Cynthia

She graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1975 then continued her education at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge. She married her college sweetheart, Sam L. Jenkins Jr., Esq. and became the parents of Atari and Annia. Hightower-Jenkins began her career in banking where for many years she worked as a teller and mortgage clerk for American Bank & Trust and United Mercantile Bank.

As a writer, she penned a social column for the Shreveport Sun, several published articles, and 19 original ballads, some of which she performed. As an entrepreneur, she was respected for her public relations and marketing skills; and as an interiorscaper and fashion designer, she enjoyed the acclaim of her clothing line, CHJ LeRoux.

She conducted corporate trainings on professionalism, etiquette, and protocol. “Being the true Southern Belle, that she is, Cynthia can always be counted on to gently coerce friend and foe alike when it comes to savoir-faire, ” wrote Voyage Dallas. She and Annia have been called lifestyle gurus and luxury concierges thanks to their growing business, All Things Beautiful & Co. The duo has been featured in the coffee table book Unselfish Women and national lifestyle magazines including Upscale Living Magazine, Good Life Family Magazine, Ordinary People magazine, The Slay Magazine, and The Addison Suite.

Hightower-Jenkins earned numerous awards and honors, including The Shreveport Times Best Dressed, HGTV spotlight, talk show host, and she judged a Miss USA Pageant. She was also featured on National Public Radio (NPR) with Farai Chideya where they talked about food, gardening, home decor, and YWCA Women’s Crisis Intervention Center.

Cynthia and Sam Jenkins
Cynthia and Sam Jenkins

Friends said Hightower-Jenkins was most proud of her husband’s accomplishments as a public servant. “Hand in hand, she assisted Sam with his initiatives to create a better city and state,” they remembered.

She was a member of the Baptist Bible Fellowship and several social organizations. A consistent community volunteer and activist, Hightower-Jenkins held leadership positions in, and served on myriad boards, including The Links Incorporated, Shreveport Chapter – Regional and International Protocol Chairman and vice president of the Shreveport Chapter. She was also a member of The Women’s Philanthropy Network, The Junior League of Shreveport, The Committee of 100, The Minority Business Council President, Minority Business Opportunity Expo Chairman, The Downtown Rotary Club, Executive Board of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, Christian Services, Shreveport Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Foundation, Business and Professional Women, and Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners’ Association. All the while living with the challenges of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disease. She passed unexpectedly following post-surgery complications.

Services celebrating her life were live streamed by Good Samaritan Funeral Home of Shreveport.

(Feature photos of Hightower-Jenkins by Cy Davison Of Beyond Reach Media)

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