“Let your name evoke smiles, stories, and warm feelings when you’re remembered.” -JEJ
Jane Elizabeth Jensen, veteran, teacher, writer, fiber artist, musician, and community volunteer, passed away of natural causes on July 28, 2014. Mrs. Jensen was 92 years of age and had been a longtime resident of Mineral Bluff, Georgia. Born Jane E. Olsen on August 25, 1921 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she graduated from Marquette University with a degree in philosophy. She enlisted in the Army in 1943 to serve during WWII, and was appointed a Third Officer in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp. After her service, she returned to Wisconsin, obtained a teaching certificate, and began her long and varied teaching career at Plainview School in Washington County, a rural, one room school house, where she taught all 8 grades.
Widowed and the mother of two daughters, Jane moved to Milwaukee in 1959. She became a curator at the Milwaukee Public Museum and it was during this period she bought her first spinning wheel and learned to spin wool into the yarn that she used for knitting sweaters.
In 1967 she married Richard Bodden, moved to Theresa, Wisconsin, and raised sheep and grew abundantly fruitful gardens. She taught grade school in Theresa and in the Barton school system in West Bend, Wisconsin. In class, her students read the book, “My Side of the Mountain.” Being inspired by the story, Jane decided that one day she would like to have her very own side of a mountain. She fulfilled that dream in the North Georgia Mountains.
In 1978 Jane moved to Blue Ridge, Georgia, where she later met and married Ted Jensen, a retired businessman from New York, and settled on a 50 acre farm near Mineral Bluff. Besides caring for her pet goat and sheep, Jane would leave her side of the mountain to volunteer where needed in the community.
Because of her teaching background, she identified a need and organized an adult literacy program long before the state mandated program was started in Fannin County. She bought the books, instructed the individuals in their homes or in hers, arranged the date for the GED, and drove the students to the exam site. Jane helped 32 women and 4 men get their GED. She taught creative writing at the Mental Health Center in Blue Ridge, and helped the clients publish their own newsletter. The Home Extension Office asked her to teach knitting classes which she did for 14 years. She was a founding member who helped organize Blue Ridge Mountains Art Association where later she would teach creative writing, basket making, crocheting, knitting, and creating rugs from rags. She loved to demonstrate and teach others how to spin wool into yarn. When visitors at Arts in the Park in Blue Ridge saw a woman pumping away at her spinning wheel with a sheep next to her, tied to the tree, they were watching a performance by Jane Jensen.
As a member of the Board of Directors for North Georgia Community Action, Inc., she devoted her time and efforts for over 33 years. As Kathy Thompson, local author, said, “Jane was a volunteer who worked tirelessly to the finish in an effort to help other individuals be successful.” Jane’s personal philosophy was to make at least two people smile every day. This mission was frequently accomplished when she shared her innate talent and love of music by playing piano, keyboards, and accordion at a number of different community events and community organizations. She liked to quip that she could play eleven different musical instruments, “but you only know what song I am playing on five of them.”
Those who knew Jane Jensen will remember her generosity and willingness to offer assistance when needed. When a County Commissioner told her that a fire station was needed in her area of the county, Jane donated to Fannin County the one-acre tract of land that now houses Fire Station 14, as well as the Hot House Voting Precinct, and Hot House Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). In addition to making new friends from this project, she was an active member of Fire Station 14’s fund raising committee and Fire Station 14’s support team.
Jane E. Jensen is survived by her daughters Geraldine Marquardt of Tunnel Hill, Georgia, and Dr. Martha Grace Marquardt, of Morganton, Georgia, grand-daughter Margo Davis, of Roswell, Georgia, and grandson Robert Marquardt (Donna) of Rocky Face, Georgia, four great-grandchildren, Lindsay and Emily Anne Davis, and Bayley and Ashley Marquardt, two sisters, Helen Anderson (Dan), of Seattle, Washington, Ann Bruno, of Sacramento, California, and two brothers, Ned Olsen, M.D., of Macon, Georgia, and Robert Olsen (Anita), of Northbrook, Illinois, many loving nieces and nephews, and immeasurable lives she touched and opened with the joy of learning to read with their eyes…of crafting with their own hands…and laughing and singing with their hearts hearing her music. And friends too numerous to name who shared the true meaning of friendship and never failed to show her how much they cared.
No formal services are planned. In the spirit of Jane’s nature to help others, a donation to a charity or church of your choice is appreciated. Also, make two people smile today.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Henry-Cochran Funeral Home of Blue Ridge. You may send condolences to the family and sign the guest registry at www.cochranfuneralhomes.com.