Frances Opal Jensen, the daughter of George Tift and Mae (Petersen) Gillette, was born on May 26, 1908, in rural Harlan, Iowa. While attending Harlan High School, Frances took Normal Training. She taught school until she married Richard Martin Jensen on June 12, 1929, at the Danish Baptist parsonage in Harlan. The couple farmed in Jackson Township for 13 years before purchasing land in Douglas Township, near Irwin, Iowa. They remained on this farm until their retirement in 1973, when they moved to Manning, Iowa. Richard died on February 5, 1978, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Frances continued living in her home until November, 1999, when she became a resident of the Manilla Manor in Manilla, Iowa. In March, 2004, she went to live at the Little Flower Haven Nursing Home in Earling, Iowa.
Frances had received Jesus as her Lord and Savior at an early age and was an active member of the Calvary Baptist Church in Manning, where she taught the High School Sunday School class until she reached the age of 80. She also nurtured her faith through Bible Study, and was a part of the same study group for 20 years. She loved music and enjoyed singing hymns. While on the farm, Frances was a member of the social neighborhood club.
Frances O. Jensen died on Monday, January 24, 2005, at Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan, Iowa, at the age of 96 years, 7 months, and 29 days.
Preceding Frances in death were her parents; her husband, Richard M. Jensen; five sisters, Hazel Gillette, Lois Neuman, Fern Christiansen, Vera Micari, and Dorothy Bowlin; four brothers, Everette Gillette, Russell Gillette, George Gillette, Jr., and Max Gillette; and one great-grandson, Andrew Brace. Survivors include three daughters, Ramona (Kenyon) Bell of Ames, Iowa, Joanne (Charles) Wooster of Irwin, Iowa, and Judy (James) Brace of Missouri Valley, Iowa; one son, V. Richard (Loretta) Jensen of Saint Paul, Minnesota; one sister, Shirley Aguirre of Columbia, Missouri; one sister-in-law, Leanna Jensen of Harlan, Iowa; 14 grandchildren; 36 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held on Thursday, January 27, 2005, at the Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, with Pastor Louis Miller of the Calvary Baptist Church in Manning, Iowa, officiating. Sara Stracke served as organist, and Frances’s children offered special music. Casket bearers were Tim Bell, Rod Brace, Todd Brace, Trent Jensen, Kyle Jensen, Jon Wooster, Paul Wooster, and David Wooster. Burial was in the Harlan Cemetery in Harlan, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of the arrangements.