Roy Kenneth Jonkers – Colonel, United States Air Force

Association of Former Intelligence Officers

With deep sorrow AFIO mourns the passing of our Executive Director, Colonel Roy Jonkers, 76, DIA Intelligence Officer, Princeton Professor, Association Executive, Retired Air Force Colonel.

Roy Kenneth Jonkers, whose career in the intelligence field spanned almost 60 years, died on October 14, 2003, at age 76. He died of a heart attack at Virginia Medical Center-Arlington after collapsing at the Pentagon physical fitness facility.

His last of many intelligence positions was as executive director of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, or AFIO.

Born in New York May 26, 1927 to Gerard A. and Jeannette Jonkers, his Dutch parents, Colonel Jonkers had dual citizenships in Holland and the U.S.. He spent much of his boyhood in The Netherlands, where he had his first exposure to the intelligence world at age 16, when he worked with an underground cell that saved 11 Dutch Jews.

After the war he returned to the U.S. and enlisted in the Army as a German linguist. He was sent to Germany where he did human intelligence collection on Soviet activities in East Germany. He was also involved in the Nurnberg war crime trials of members of the Waffen SS.

Colonel Jonkers graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University and received a master’s degree in international relations from Stanford University He did additional graduate work in political science at Cambridge and George Washington universities. He received a master’s degree in that subject from Rutgers University, where he also completed course and examination work toward a doctorate.

In 1948 he married the lovely Vilma Kimenis, a native of Valka, Latvia. He joined the Air Force in 1952 and held a succession of increasingly sensitive intelligence posts, ranging from tactical intelligence to reconnaissance and psychological warfare that included the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam in the mid-1960s. He retired in 1983 and for the next decade was a corporate program and business development manager with GTE, retiring again in January 1994.

His honors include a Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, two Air Force Commendation Medals and a Superior Service Medal.

In his post-military career, Colonel Jonkers received credit for reviving two professional intelligence organizations. Long active in the National Military Intelligence Association, he became president of its Potomac Chapter in 1983 and then national president. He left the NMIA presidency in 1989.In a continuation of his desire “to give something back to an intelligence community filled with fine people doing their best for our country,” in 1998 Col. Jonkers became executive director at the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, which was formed in 1975 as a support group for a beleaguered intelligence community. In the early 1990s, he organized symposia, drawing large numbers of attendees, instituted annual Intelligence Merit Awards, and created an extensive publications program. AFIO grew from 1,000 members to almost 4,000 at the time of his death.

Colonel Jonkers taught international relations courses for the University of Maryland in 1959 and 1966. He was on the faculty of Princeton University as professor of aerospace studies, 1967-1971. On 17 September, his dear Vilma died of a heart attack on the front lawn of their house in Falls Church, VA. Roy was heartbroken.

Five weeks later, still reeling from her death, his heart stopped beating, as well.

He is survived by two sons, Ronald N. and Randall G.; a daughter, Sylvia Tahler, two sisters – Ellen Connaughton and Joyce Glanville — and three brothers – Richard, Reggie and Herbert — and seven grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at Ft. Myer Chapel on Tuesday, December 2, at 1 p.m. Interment Arlington National Cemetery with full Military Honors.

The Jonkers family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Jonkers Publications Fund at AFIO.

Family, friends and colleagues mourn the loss of this loving husband and father, mentor and patriot, man of honor, whose wise voice of experience, balance and common sense on national security affairs — always displayed in his beloved Weekly Intelligence Notes — will be greatly missed.Our final salute to one of AFIO’s own. Rest in peace, old friend.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 05/26/1927
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/14/2003

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment