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Mary Jensen - December 13, 2012


Mary Ellen Bang Jensen, 84 years of age, died Thursday, Dec.13, 2012, at her home in Minden.
Mary, daughter of Roy Titus Bang and Ellen Tang Petersen Bang, was born in Minden on July 26, 1928.
She graduated from Minden High School in 1946, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with an associate degree in English and business.
She married Richard Jensen in August 1949 and they had four children: Steven, Diane, Lynn and Jane.
She worked as a bookkeeper for a few years and then continued her schooling at CNTC where in 1972 when she received her LPN degree. She worked at the Minden hospital for many years and did home nursing upon her retirement.
She was a member of the Westminster United Presbyterian Church all her life, and sang in the choir for 55 years.
In the 1960s she sold saving stamps in the Minden and Upland schools, and became affectionately known as the “Stamp Lady.”
Mary and Bev Clay taught CPR for a number of years, and led Minden first graders on get-acquainted tours of the Minden hospital emergency room. Many volunteer hours were spent at the Red Cross Bloodmobile, Bethany Home, the Minden Opera House, the Kearney County Historical Society, the Jensen Library, the Minden Senior Center, and the Meals on Wheels program.
She enjoyed the many hours spent at the spinning wheel at the Harold Warp Pioneer Village and meeting tourists from all over the world. She also assisted at the candy store at the Pioneer Village, and so was dubbed the “Candy Gram” by her California grandkids when they would visit.
In 1976 she became a “teacher” for one hour a year. Minden third graders would receive a lesson that Mary would teach based on stories of the pioneers and the Native Americans of Nebraska from her father’s book, Heroes Without Medals. She taught her yearly lesson every year — next May would have been her 37th year. She “took her act on the road” (her phrase) and taught her lesson for her grandchildren’s third grade classes in Juniata and California twice. She would save the Minden students’ thank you notes and return them as a high school graduation gift.
She was a 50-year member of the Moab Chapter 94, Order of the Eastern Star. She joined the Order in 1946.
She was a beloved rule-breaker. As a child she was a fearless tomboy. At age 8 the Bang family did not yet have a dog so Mary decided to fulfill the duties and bit the milkman.
In high school, college, and all her adult life, Mary continued to be fiercely independent and also fiercely opinionated. There was little doubt how Mary felt about various topics — she would always let her voice be heard, even if her point of view was unpopular. There was a confident boldness deeply embedded in her character.
When she decided to pursue her lifelong passion for nursing she was 42 years old and had essentially raised her four children. She touched hundreds of peoples’ lives with her compassionate care. Mary did not just nurse peoples’ bodies — she healed emotions and souls as well.
After retirement and with Richard now gone, Mary turned to cruises as a favorite vacation activity with her family. She took the entire clan to Hawaii as a summer gift in 2006. She saw Alaska twice, again taking various family members along as her generous gift. She often talked, at least somewhat seriously, about moving to Wrangel, Alaska because it was just like another Minden, except in Alaska.
Mary was incredibly active in her faith and in the Westminster United Presbyterian Church activities. She believed in service to many volunteer activities, but the church and its members benefitted in so many ways from Mary’s generous gift of her time and talents.
She will be missed greatly by family, friends, her church, and her community.
Survivors include her daughters, Diane Marie Jensen Bettge of Alta Loma, Calif., and Jane Ellen Jensen Christensen of Minden; sons-in- law, Frederick Bettge and Mark Christensen; grandchildren, Amanda Jensen; Dillon, wife Alyssa, and great-grandson, Jackson; and Laurel Jensen Previtt, husband Jerry, and great-grandson Landyn; Ericka, Tyler, and Dustin Bettge; Chelsea Jensen; Emily Jensen Baughman, husband Jon, and great-grandson Lucas; and Andrew Jensen. Also nephews David, Larry, and Tom Bang, and niece Jill Bang; several cousins and many many friends.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Richard Jensen in 1993; her son, Lynn; daughter-in-law, Debra; and grandson Elijah in 1998; her son Steven in 2004; grandson Jason in 1995; brother Jim Bang in 2001; and sister-in-law Bobbie McGregor Bang in 2001.
Memorial services will be Friday, Dec. 21 at 10 a.m. at the Westminster United Presbyterian Church in Minden with Rev. Dan Davis officiating.
There will be no visitation.
Layton-Craig Funeral Home in Minden is in charge of arrangements.