Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Have you written YOUR obituary yet? Consider the alternatives....

 Here’s mine, more or less, and a pox on any of my family who consider altering it. My reasons for authoring it were quite reasonable: names and dates and facts will will be accurate,  (some of the novels are nonexistent at this writing) and there is no suggestion of sainthood.

Janet Kay Craner Jensen passed away (actually, she died) on ___________. She was born April 3, 1951, a surprise, to Darwin Kay and Lorene Ethel Miller Craner, in Berkeley, California. Her first recorded sentence was “Me do it.” She was raised in several western states and graduated from Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1969, where she won distinction as a state champion in debate. After being accepted and then rejected by Brigham Young University, she attended Utah State University on a Debate scholarship, where she affiliated with Mortar Board and earned a B.S. in Communicative Disorders.

She met her husband, Miles Peter Jensen, at USU, where both were members of the Intercollegiate Debate Team. After some debate, they agreed to marry, and on August 19, 1972, they were sealed in the Ogden Utah LDS Temple, after which they continued to debate for the next -------- years. They honeymooned in Chicago, where both earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University:  Miles in Law and Janet in Speech-Language Pathology.

Janet was employed as a Speech-Language Pathologist for twenty years, beginning at Augustana Nursery in Chicago, Ill.; following with Cache and Logan (Utah) School Districts; and part-time faculty at Utah State University’s Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education and USU’s Center for Persons With Disabilities.

(You may skip the next two paragraphs. In fact, this is highly recommended.)

Janet's second career, as a writer, was noted by poems and articles that appeared in Healing Ministry Journal, Everton’s Family History Magazine, ByLine, Meridian, The Magic of Stories, Parables of Our Times and Intermountain Health Care’s Heart to Heart newsletter. A personal essay, Baking Day, won second place in a national competition. She co-authored The Book Lover’s Cookbook, Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and the Passages that Feature Them (Wenger and Jensen, Ballantine, 2003). Publication of this book was greeted with great surprise by friends who swore she could not cook. She published her first novel, Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys (Cedar Fort, 2007). This was read with great surprise by her husband, who did not know she could write. She went on to publish more novels, Gabriel’s Daughters (Jolly Fish, 2015), Come, Girls, Come (and listen to my noise); Grace Will Bring Us Home, O’Connor’s Honor, Chrissie, The Best is Yet to Be, and Drs. Birt, Hogg and Dube′.

Janet also won numerous awards from the League of Utah Writers, including first place in short story, humorous poetry, and personal essay. Her novels received several national awards, including finalist in the Eric Hoffer Award for New Fiction, Foreword Magazine’s Indiefab contest, and Southwest Book Design and Production Award. 

She served as president of the Cache Valley Chapter of the League of Utah Writers and was a member of the LUW State Board for several years. Other professional affiliations included The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, Women Writing the West, and USU’s Old Main Society. She was a tutor with Bridgerland Literacy for ten years and was proud to be honored as Logan Library’s Top-Fines Patron of the Year.

Janet was known to play practical jokes and was devoted to her family. She enjoyed travel and theater and had a passion for reading. After accidentally sipping fruit-flavored champagne on a Caribbean cruise, (which inspired many family stories), she remained alcohol-free for the remainder of her life. She served in many capacities in the LDS Church including Cub Scout Leader, Relief Society Instructor, Primary President, and Newsletter Editor. At the time of her death she was a member of the Lundstrom Park (Logan East Stake) Third Ward.

She was preceded in death by her parents and one grandson, Christian Jensen.

She also outlived numerous mixed-breed dogs: Chevy, Malibu, Molly, and Lita, and one large white rabbit, Harvey.

She is survived by her husband, Miles, of Logan; her three sons, who provided inspiration for many humorous poems and essays: Kevin Scott Jensen (Evelyn), Draper, Utah; Benjamin Paul (BJ) and Marica Jensen, Jyvaskyla Finland; and Jeff Cameron Jensen, Emeryville, California; two sisters: Anne Cloward, Portland, Ore.; Ellen Croft, Riverton, Utah; five remarkable grandchildren, and Gus, a BorderBeagle who was her faithful companion and partner in crime.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donation to the WalMart Where Did I Park my Car Club. Serious donors may contribute to CAPSA (Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse), Cache Valley Humane Society and Bridgerland Literacy.

Graveside Services will be highlighted by a rendering of "Amazing Grace"  by the USU Pipe and Drum Corps, and will be conducted by Bishop Tom Auga who was quoted as remarking, “Who knew being Primary President could shorten the average woman’s life span? Besides, Sister Jensen was anything but average.”

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