MADISON — Jane Margaret Jensen left this world peacefully on Aug. 16, 2020. She had recently celebrated her 87th birthday at Agrace Hospice Center, where she resided these past several months.
Jane was delivered by midwife, at home, above her father’s cheese factory in Lakewood, Wis. She married Elmo Chris Jensen, who was serving in the Air Force. Their four children were born while they were stationed at various locations in the US and Japan. Her love for travel continued throughout her life. She later divorced, which in the early ’60s was frowned upon, an adversity she faced head-on and raised four children while being a single parent.
After divorcing, she began working as an executive assistant for US Senator Proxmire. Following that she worked for Governor Knowles on his Council for Home and Family. Her interest in politics led to her run for Dane County Clerk in 1966, as a Democrat. She lost by only 500 votes in the most populated county in the state.
Later, Jane went back to school to complete degrees in counseling and psychology while simultaneously working at the Dane County Mental Health Center. She eventually founded her own practice, the Divorce Counseling and Resource Center. She was well-known throughout Madison for her Crisis of the Holidays workshops but she also taught singles and couples workshops, did private counseling, and lobbied state lawmakers to create changes that supported divorced parents with custody issues. She taught mini courses at the UW-Madison which were always well attended and earned her praise for her depth of knowledge and facilitation skills.
Jane will be most remembered for her politics and peace activism. During the Gulf War, she founded the non-profits Military Families for Peace and the Military Family Support Group. She collected contributions to help fill soldiers’ wish lists and, with the help of others, mailed packages to the Middle East. She held monthly support meetings, took phone calls from grieving families, and organized summer picnics where families and others could gather, share experiences and support one another.
Jane was a member of the Dane County Democratic Party, actively campaigning for local, state and national candidates. She gathered signatures for candidates (and for the Walker recall), held fundraisers, delivered yard signs and canvased door to door. For years, Jane was a regular at the Farmers Market where she could be found collecting signatures and registering voters. She enjoyed picnics and other events at the Labor Temple. Jane traveled nationally with the Kerry/Edwards campaign, an experience she remembered fondly. Jane was very happy for Biden’s pick of Kamala Harris as VP.
Last but not least, we have to mention Jane’s love for the Green Bay Packers. She was very proud of her Packer Shrine, a collection of Packers memorabilia. She enjoyed talking about her experience at the 1967 Ice Bowl game.
Jane will be remembered by many wonderful friends and her children, Colene Acker (Jeff), Garrett Jensen (Lydia), and Grant Jensen (Monica); daughter-in-law, Susie Jensen; and her ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Jane was preceded in death by her son, Greg Jensen (Susie); and her parents, Gilbert and Laura Thielke.
Her family would like to thank the Agrace staff. They not only helped her with daily care but also helped make phone calls, painted her nails, helped her apply her signature red lipstick, and took her outside to enjoy the sunshine. They will always hold a special place in our hearts.
A Celebration of Life is planned next summer. Jane chose to have memorials made to the Fitchburg Serenity Club, the Democratic Party of Dane County, or Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Madison.
Remember Jane when you enjoy a Brandy Old Fashioned, bratwurst or cheese curds. Peace!