Author and speaker Margaret T. Jensen died at her home in Wilmington, North Carolina, on March 19, 2007, at the age of 90. She was surrounded by her family, who cared for her during her last months.
Margaret served as a nurse in Illinois, Georgia, and North Carolina, until her retirement. She then began a second career as an author and national inspirational speaker. Her best-loved book, First We Have Coffee, was published in 1982, and soon became a best-seller.
Her writing career began after she attended a writer's conference at Gordon College, where she met editors and publishers who encouraged her to submit a book manuscript. First We Have Coffee is an autobiographical compilation of stories from Margaret's childhood as a daughter of immigrant parents from Norway who served in pastoral leadership in Norwegian communities from the Midwest, Canada and Brooklyn. Mrs. Jensen went on to write 15 more books, including the novel, First Comes the Wind, and other books from her family's experience, including, Papa's Place, Lena, All God's Children Got Robes, Violets for Mr. B, Who Will Wind the Clock, and A Nail in a Sure Place. Margaret wrote her last book, The Mending Basket, at the age of 89.
The theater on the campus of Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, is named in honor of Margaret Jensen, a storyteller who loved to bring encouragement and hope to others through linking the message of God's love to the challenges of life. Mrs. Jensen also appeared on television and radio programs throughout Canada and the US. She loved to share her inspirational stories and to point others to God's love.
Margaret Jensen was the wife of the late Harold E. Jensen, who served churches in Illinois and Georgia. She is survived by her sister, Mrs. Joyce Jensen of Fort Smith, AR; daughter, Janice Jensen Carlberg of Wenham, MA; two sons, Ralph H. Jensen of Wilmington, North Carolina, and Daniel E. Jensen of Whittier, California; as well as six grandchildren, Dr. Heather Carlberg Willis of Fort Defiance AZ, Chad Carlberg of Salem, MA, Christopher Shawn Jensen of Wilmington, NC, Capt. Eric Jensen of Fort Knox, KY, Sarah Jensen and Elise Jensen of Wilmington. Margaret was known as Grammy LaLa to her six great-grandchildren, Lily and Luke Willis, Gracynne, Lund, and Kade Jensen, and Leora Jensen.
A memorial service will be held at the Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Saturday, April 7, 2007. Friends and family are invited to meet at 9:30 a.m. for coffee, remember, "first we have coffee", until the memorial service at 11 am.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Margaret T. Jensen scholarship fund for aspiring writers, in care of, Gordon College, 255 Grapevine Road, Wenham, MA 01984.
Tributes and Condolences may be offered to the family at www.mem.com.
Coble Ward-Smith Funeral Service, Oleander Chapel, 910-791-4444.
Published in Star-News on Mar. 25, 2007.