Ann Parker, seen May 27 on the footbridge spanning the Androscoggin River between Lewiston and Auburn, holds a book that she spearheaded to honor her longtime partner, John Jenkins. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — A public memorial service for John Jenkins, former mayor of Lewiston and Auburn, will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Lewiston Armory, Ann Parker, his longtime partner, said in a statement.

John Jenkins Sun Journal file photo

The “Celebration of Life” will include performances by local artists such as Kathy Haley, Deb Morin, Greg Boardman and Denny Breau, in addition to special speakers sharing their memories of Jenkins.

A video commemorating Jenkins’ life will be shown, highlighting his achievements in martial arts, public service and the days leading up to his death from cancer in 2020, Parker said. Some of his personal items and collectibles will be on display, as well as guest books for the public to fill with personal memories and anecdotes of Jenkins.

Jenkins, originally from Newark, New Jersey, graduated from Bates College in 1974 and settled in Auburn. He went on to wear many hats, becoming a motivational speaker and martial arts expert and instructor.

Jenkins was the first African American mayor of Lewiston in 1994, later winning a write-in campaign for mayor of Auburn in 2007. Additionally, he was elected to the state Senate in 1996, becoming the first African American to serve.

“I am pleased to be able to finally have the proper ‘Celebration of Life’ that John deserves, and that the community deserves,” Parker said. “So many people just want to say ‘Good-bye and God speed’ to someone who meant so much to so many people.

“John would be humbled by the outpouring of love that people have expressed since his passing. Let’s pack the armory in memory of John and keep his legacy alive,” she said.

The armory is at 65 Central Ave.

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