Jenifer Ahlstrand
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Jenifer Ahlstrand

Jenifer Ahlstrand passed away January 6 at the age of 76 after a year and a half long struggle with cancer. Jenifer was a beautiful woman inside and out, a bright light loved by many. She approached the world with an inquisitive mind and a welcoming nature. She was an avid reader, intrepid traveler and one who was interested in everyone she met. A generous and loving woman, she rarely had an unkind thing to say about anyone.

Jenifer grew up in a loving family in Stockton, California, the third of ve children. At Fresno State University, Jeni pursued a BA degree in English and secondary teaching credential. There she met her future husband, Mark.

With her husband, Jeni joined the Peace Corps in 1969, a year after they were married, where they served as teachers in Malawi, a small country in southeastern Africa. As one of the only credentialed and experienced teachers in the group of 50 volunteeers, Jeni was recruited to be the head of the English Department at Bunda College, the agriculture branch of the University of Malawi. There, she was an important role model for the small number of women students. After two years there, she and Mark extended for an additional year at a rural secondary school in Swaziland. Those three and a half years in Africa were strong building blocks for the career in education she chose.

Upon return to the United States, Jeni earned a Masters in Linguistics at the University of New Hampshire. Returning to California in 1976, the couple was nally ready to settle down, and chose Visalia as a good place to live, work and raise their daughter, Tatiana.

For a teaching position in Central California, Jeni rst selected Earlimart Middle School then, after 3 years, Farmersville Middle School. Joining the faculty as an English teacher in 1979, a year after her daughter Tasha was born, Jeni found that there were several other returned Peace Corps Volunteers on the sta . This immediately felt comfortable and made Farmers-ville feel like a place where she could make a di erence. She served there for 34 years - rst as an English teacher, then as assistant principal, and nally, after earning a second Masters Degree in School Administration, as school principal for her last twelve years.

Jeni was a lifelong champion of the underdog and for those ambitious people who were desperately trying to make it in our tough society. She frequently told stories about visiting the humble homes of her students who were having di culty with the subject matter or were misbehaving and often found homes with very little food, squalid conditions and multi-generational families crowded into inadequate space. She became a strong advocate for the school providing the missing structure and nutrition in her students' lives and was instrumental in getting those programs going and making sure that they were working properly. She also went out of her way to bring cultural events and community gures to her rural school.

Jeni is survived by Mark, her husband of 53 years, her daughter Tatiana, (husband Aaron Bennett) and her granddaughter, Nadja of Bayside, California, also, sisters Valerie Schuyler of King City, Oregon, Beverly Harman (husband Jay McAllister) of Ukiah, California and her brother Gary Harman of Stockton, California. Jenifer was predeceased by her parents Ken-neth and Lucille Harman of Stockton and her sister, Marilyn Harman of Oakland.




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Published in Visalia Times-Delta & Tulare Advance-Register from Jan. 7 to Jan. 8, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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20 entries
January 13, 2021
Jenifer was maybe 5 years old when thy moved away from San Carlos, and the only other time I saw her was at Aunt Jane's memorial (1999?) so she probably would not remember me. I recall she had the most blondest blondie hair! Looking at her picture, I am struck by her strong resemblance to our grandfather, Will Harman...particularly in her mouth and eyes. I'm sorry life took us in different directions, she would have been fun to know!
Bob Harman
Family
January 12, 2021
I was very fortunate to work with her! She was so wonderful and I miss her to this day. I am so sad that she has passed. May she Rest In Peace.
Lucinda Filpi
Teacher
January 12, 2021
Mrs. Ahlstrand, may you rest in peace. I am very fortunate that you were my principal at Farmersville Junior High School. I am so sorry I never got a chance, as an adult, to tell you how much of a positive impact that you had on my life.
Alberto Ramos
Student
January 9, 2021
I had the opportunity to work along side Jenifer during her 34 year career at Farmersville Middle School. Jenifer had a very nurturing nature which reflected in both her teaching approach and administrative style. She cared for the students and worked diligently to provide a positive and welcoming educational environment for them.
My condolences to Mark, Tasha, other family members and friends. I am so sorry for your loss.

Linda Estabrook Mecum
Co-worker
Linda Mecum
Coworker
January 9, 2021
She was a wonderful sister, and I'll miss her dearly!

Picture is Jeni (on the right) and Marilyn.
Gary Harman
Brother
January 9, 2021
A life well lived. Comfort and blessings to Mark and the family.
Vicki Wall Gilson
Vicki Gilson
Acquaintance
January 9, 2021
Mrs. Ahlstrand was one of the Best Teachers anyone could have. She was such a fun, cool down to earth teacher but also had that sternness to her when needed. My Condolences To Her Family May God Bless You All...She Was Truly A Blessing To So Many...May She Rest In Peace...✝


Genevieve Quiroz
Student
January 8, 2021
In the early 80s, Jenifer and I each taught half of the 7th grade history class. At that time, we were pressed to develop a test that all the students could take. She had such a rich background in areas that I knew little about, and vice versa. The experience convinced me that national standards in social studies would rob students of the most important trait of a social studies teacher, someone with expertise and a passion to share it. I eventually went overseas, and came back 25 years later to find her as principal. Our last interaction before she retired was the interview where she hired me back to my old job.
Brian Carroll
Coworker
January 8, 2021
Leaves great memories at Farmersville Jr High. My deepest Condolences to her Family. She touched so many of us with her great kindness and Humbleness!!
Silvia Gonzales
Student
January 8, 2021
She was my English teacher always happy and very caring loved her
Roxanne Peterson
Student
January 8, 2021
Ms. Ahlstrand was my favorite teacher. She made learning fun. She really cared about all of her students and was always available and approach able. Send my condolences to her family. She will be greatly missed.
Tammie Paredez
Student
January 8, 2021
I'm so sorry to hear this i loved her 1 of the best teachers i had in Jr high , my condolences to her family may she fly high with God,
Rhonda Smith (waymire)
Student
January 8, 2021
Jenifer served with me on the Executive Board for Visalia's Police Activities Leagues for several years and was a blessing to all of us who worked with her. She was gifted with that rare sweet spirt that is both calming and encouraging at the same time. I am greatly saddened by her passing but I'm comforted in knowing she is no longer suffering from her battle with cancer. My deepest condolences to her husband Mark and the rest of her beautiful family.
Debbie Terry
Friend
January 8, 2021
Ms Ahlstrand , thank you for being the best teacher/principal that a student could have. Thank you for being instrumental in my Jr High years and for counseling me when I truly needed it. My sincere condolences to your family. May you R.I.P. in Heaven.
Michael Baxter
January 8, 2021
Mrs. Ahlstrand was my principal in the mid 90’s, and then later became by boss and mentor in 2005. She was an inspiration to me, and I can truly say that she is the reason why I am a school administrator today. She was an example of an exemplary educator who always went above and beyond for her staff and students. My condolences and prayers for her family.
Ines Rivera
Student
January 8, 2021
My condolences to her family. She was such a good teacher who cared about her students. She was always everyone's favorite teacher. She will be missed.
Betty Tinker
Student
January 8, 2021
So sorry to hear this!!! I was hired in January of 1979 in Farmersville as well, and spent my teaching career with upper elementary students. I was with her at a conference the night she was offered/accepted the principal job at Farmersville Jr. Hi. So glad to have been part of her Farmersville circle. Condolences, and God's comfort to the family!
Barbara Taylor
Coworker
January 8, 2021
She was my English and typing teacher in the late 80's in Farmersville. I absolutely loved her. She was a wonderful teacher who made learning fun. I only had a few favorite teachers, and she was one of them. My prayers for her family.
Jessica (Gold) Crawford
Student
January 8, 2021
Mark,

My deepest condolences for the loss of your beautiful wife and life companion. Although it has been many years since I had seen you and Jennifer (maybe my wedding in 1997?), I have many fond memories of the two of you at our home in Lindsay for dinners while I was growing up. It was always a fun evening when the Ahlstrands were over! I can picture Jennifer and her smile and laugh perfectly in my memory from all of those years ago. You and Tasha are in my thoughts.

Fondly,
Rachel (Wilson) Mulligan
Rachel Mulligan
Friend
January 8, 2021
Jenifer always was an advocate for the rights of teachers. Her term as FTA union president inspired me to become involved in the union and serve as president also. She continuously strives to elevate the impression of educators as true professionals. So sorry for your loss, Mark and Tasha.
Susan Cunningham
Coworker
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