GLADSTONE - Rev. Ellen L. Jensen, 80, of 1325 Wisconsin Avenue, Gladstone, passed away Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, at the Northwoods Assisted Living Facility in Escanaba where she was currently residing.
Ellen was born June 27, 1932, in Chicago, Ill., the daughter of Robert H. and Dolores (Melcher) Roueche. She was raised in Northbrook where she graduated from high school, then went on to attend college at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo.
Ellen was united in marriage to Robert Jensen on June 27, 1952, in Northbrook, Ill., and they later moved to the Upper Peninsula in 1955. She worked at Flat Rock Elementary School for several years where she worked in the kitchen and as a teacher's aide. Ellen later returned to school where she received her teaching degree in 1974 from Northern Michigan University. Ellen taught school for 23 years at Lemmer Elementary School in Escanaba, retiring in 1997.
Rev. Ellen L. Jensen
Ellen joined the Episcopal Church as a child at the age of eight. Her home church for most of her adult life was Trinity Episcopal Church in Gladstone. She served the church as a Sunday school teacher, Bishop's Committee member, warden, Altar Guild member, lector, choir member, lay reader, chalice bearer and Eucharist minister. She also served the Northern Michigan Episcopal Diocese in many ways, including serving as a member of the Diocesan Commission on Ministry. In 1991, following three years of study, she became an ordained priest with the Episcopal Church.
Ellen was also a member of the Gladstone Ecumenical Clergy Association and was involved with the start of the Bay Area Campus Ministry Organization. In 2009, Ellen received the National Honored Woman for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan.
Being committed to serving others, Ellen always reached out to those in need. Ellen taught childbirth classes for single parents for 12 years, both teaching and coaching for deliveries. She served several years as a foster parent. She also assisted with Gladstone Walk/Run for Hunger, and worked with the Gladstone School District Health Committee. Ellen was honored to receive the Elks Citizen of the Year Award in 1997.
Ellen had a great love of music. She shared this with others in many ways. She loved to sing with her family, starting at a young age singing with her sister and parents, and later with her own children, often accompanying by playing the ukulele. All those who lived on Sharkey Road remember the annual Christmas caroling party held at the Jensen's. She was a co-director of the Kids Praise Production for many years. Ellen also loved square dancing and was a "caller" for the Flat Rock Square Dancing Group.
Ellen thought cooking was fun. After catering for years, she was able to use her skills to organize and serve meals for the Episcopal Church Camp, Camp Harstead, Habitat for Humanity, and Bay Area Campus Ministry.
After retirement, Ellen met regularly and kept in contact with many friends through the Gladstone Study Club, Flat Rock Birthday Club and the Lemmer Buddies Lunch Group. Ellen was a proud member of the American Association of University Women and Michigan Education Association.
Survivors include her children, Rob (Jamie) Jensen of Rapid River, Julie Nelson of Gladstone, Ray Jensen of Gladstone, David (Sara) Jensen of Gladstone, Laura (Paul) LaPine of Gladstone, Jane (Ron) Brow of Marquette, Dan Jensen of Brampton; sister, Barbara Ann "Bobbie" (Fred) O'Donnell of Gurnee, Ill.; grandchildren, Megan (Donny) Wallenfang, Audrey Jensen, Natalie Nelson, Sam Jensen, Travis Jensen, John LaPine, Tyler Jensen, Emily LaPine, Ben Brow, Paige Jensen, Brad Brow and Allison Jensen; six great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews survive.
In addition to her parents, her husband, Robert; and daughter-in-law, Anne, preceded Ellen in death.
Ellen's family will receive friends on Saturday, Nov. 24, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Escanaba. Funeral services celebrating the life of Rev. Ellen L. Jensen will follow at 4 p.m. with Bishop Rayford Ray officiating. Luncheon will follow in the St. Stephens Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Escanaba and Gladstone are assisting the Jensen family.
Please visit www.skradskifuneralhomes.com where you can express your sympathy to the Jensen family, or to leave a memory tribute about Ellen.