|Birth: ||Mar. 2, 1911|
|Death: ||Aug. 16, 1998|
(Acknowledgement to Washington County Genealogy Society for archive of obituary below)
Eleanor DeVinney Jensen, 87, a prominent Washington county farm woman and community activist, died Sunday, Aug. 16, 1998, in San Mateo, Calif., where she had recently moved to be near her son and family.
She granted her body to the Stanford University Medical Research School for detailed rheumatoid arthritis study. After this study, she will be buried with the Jensen family in the Blair Cemetery.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, 1998, at the Herman Federated Church with Rev. David Masten officiating. A reception will follow.
Eleanor DeVinney was born March 2, 1911, in Chunchula, Ala., to Joseph and Marie DeVinney. Six years later, after developing a lumber mill, the DeVinney family returned to a family farm near Blair.
She graduated from Blair High School in 1928 with high honors and was a state champion in debate. She debated that the origin of a civilized society is well-chosen words. The debate topic was "Resolved, words and ideas are first weapons of choice to correct human conflict."
Through Normal School courses, Eleanor received a teaching certificate with her Blair degree. By age 21, she had taught for four years at the eight-grade March country school. She emphasized classic farm community concepts, cooperation, fundamental knowledge and the advance of an idea from year to year.
On May 20, 1932, she married Alton Byron Jensen. The couple farmed seven miles north of Blair. Despite the effects of drought and severe economic depression on farm life, the farm wife strongly believed in commkunity activity. She helped found and promote the Federation of Women's Clubs in Nebraska, Blair Bench Club, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Blair Community Hospital, Pleasant View Sunday School, Herman Eastern Star and the Herman Federated Church.
She believed that community activities not only served a great purpose, but allowed her to meet grand people. As she was working to develop the Federated Women's Club, she met Susie Buffet, who one day offered her a chance to purchase stock in a new company she and her husband, Warren, were developing. The stock helped put the Jensen children through college.
Eleanor was active in grass root politics. She once said, "In the Depression and War years, with a name like Eleanor, you had to help the President."
She was an organist and often accompanied her husband.
After suffering a stroke, she moved to the Good Shepherd Lutheran Home in Blair. In October of 1996, decades after she gave up formal school teaching, she began working with South School students in Blair on their reading and math skills through an intergenerational program. She enjoyed teaching again, adding that "It gives me something to do besides taking a nap."
She is survived by her daughter, Sally, of Omaha; her son, Larry, and his wife, Noriko, of San Mateo; her sister, Irene Davis of Truckee, Calif.; her stepsister Lucille Smith of Blair; three grandchildren, Dirk Byron and his wife, Dawn, of San Mateo; Brooke Alise Jensen of San Francisco; Nels Joseph of San Jose; and two great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Alton, in 1985 and a daughter-in-law, Jan Alise, in 1974.
Alton Byron Jensen (1904 - 1985)
Sally DeVinney Jensen (1942 - 2007)*
Plot: Block: 64 Lot: 3 Grave: 2
Created by: S. Wardell
Record added: Jul 01, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 113207751