Cowan, Katherine "Kay" Jenkins (Cleveland)

  • Friday, February 3, 2023
Katherine Cowan
Katherine Cowan
Katherine “Kay” Jenkins Cowan was the founder and owner of Jenkins Deli in Cleveland and Athens. 

Jenkins Deli opened in 1976 and has been a staple in the community as well as a landmark.  Many people have come to know and love this establishment. 

Kay had a charitable drive, supporting many organizations such as the Special Olympics in Bradley County and the Cleveland Civitan Club.

She was a successful small businesswoman who oversaw Jenkins for approximately 47 years. In 2002 she was awarded the Mel Bedwell Small Businessperson of the Year Award. Kay was featured in multiple publications throughout the years including an editorial in National Geographic. Everyone knew her and loved Jenkins’ famous Chicken Salad. 

Kay was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph Paul Callahan and Mary Catherine Hawkes-Callahan; husband, Donald “Don” Cowan; sons, David Jenkins and Justin Cowan; brother, John Callahan, and sisters Carol Crews and Pam Firestine.

Kay is survived by her children, William Jenkins (Becky), Seressa Austad (Jim), Shelly Jenkins, Lisa West (Vince), Christy Turner (Ross), Mary Helen Smith (Steve); grandchildren, Kristen Taylor (Clarke), Chase Jenkins, Callie Reiner (Grant), Chandler Jenkins, James Austad, Elysa McGuire (Josh), Donovan West (Michelle), Katie Lee Sommers (Jacob), Caleb Turner, Lilly McGuire (Tyler), Ben Turner, Emma, Clara, Willa, Duncan Smith; great grandchildren Lilly Shell, Lukas Jenkins, Rhiannon West, Elliana Sommers, Thomas and Will Taylor; sister, Mary Rogers (Jay) and many nieces and nephews.

The Jenkins Deli employees are a part of her extended family that will continue to honor and serve her legacy at Jenkins for the years to come. 

The family thanks Legacy Village of Cleveland and Hospice of Chattanooga. If you wish, charitable donations can be made to the Special Olympics of Bradley County, Area 4 ( or the Cleveland Civitan Club ( 

A memorial gathering to celebrate the life of Kay Jenkins Cowan will be held on Sunday, Feb. 5, between 2-4 p.m. at Jenkins Deli in Cleveland. Kay will have a private graveside service in North Carolina with immediate family.

Visit to share condolences and view the memorial video tribute.

Arrangements are entrusted to Fike-Randolph & Son Funeral Home.
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