Katherine Jensen ’68

2 October 2012

Major: Sociology

Katherine R. Jensen, 64, Laramie, died Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010 at Ivinson Memorial Hospital. Katherine Ruth Jensen, Distinguished Professor Emerita of the University of Wyoming, wore many different academic hats in her long career at the University, including Co-founder and Director of Women’s Studies, Director of International Studies, and Associate Dean of the Arts & Sciences College. These services to the University were ultimately secondary to her teaching, mentoring, and her extensive research in Women and Work, and Micro-Enterprises in the Global South. For over three decades, Kathy mentored undergraduate and graduate students. To her delight, many of these students went on to practice the profession that she loved dearly. Kathy’s ability to connect with her students and colleagues resulted in many treasured and enduring friendships. Much of her academic and personal success was due to her collaborative research and writing with her husband, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Audie Blevins, who was her partner in life and in work. Of greater importance to her than her academic contribution were her contributions to family and community. As a mother, Kathy taught valuable skills such as cooking, sewing, and gardening. She instilled an appreciation of art and music, and believed in the importance of family gathering in the evening for a meal. She loved sharing the outdoors with her family, including camping, rafting, backpacking, and visiting the cabin she built with Audie. Kathy made sure that her children were exposed to diverse cultures, working and living in Australia and England, visiting various countries in all hemispheres, and giving them the opportunity to study at public schools abroad. Even after her children had dispersed cross the country and abroad, she maintained a strong sense of family. She pursued her dreams with gusto, and served as an example of excellence in all endeavors to her four children and their spouses: Stephanie Blevins and Clint Krumm, Erika Iverson, Mike and Joell Blevins, and Jens Iverson and Kate Orlovsky, and her four beloved granddaughters, Lily, Kelsey, Brooke and Teagen. In all of her life endeavors, whether educating, mentoring, connecting with people on a daily basis, or teaching her values to her children, Kathy strove to instill in others a sense of fairness and equity along with a sense of obligation to our environment. Many of the ideas and activities Kathy was involved in at the University and in her family were informed by her early upbringing in South Dakota, where her family has ranched for three generations. Her academic work often focused upon the role of women in non-paid agricultural work, including the early article titled, “Mother Calls Herself a Housewife, But She Buys Bulls.” Her parents, Georgia and Alvin Jensen, provided an ethic of responsibility to family, friends, and community that also shaped the values of her two brothers and her sister-in-laws, Cliff and Lonnie Jensen and Karl and Celia Jensen, who are following in their parents’ footsteps by continuing the family tradition of raising cattle and preserving the land on the Jensen Ranch. Kathy’s sister, Mary Kay Miller, expresses these values by providing skilled health care and wise guidance as a Nurse Practitioner in Oregon with her husband Dave Miller. Kathy’s family expresses tremendous gratitude to many friends who have showered them with blessings, support, and love. They particularly wish to thank everyone for their love and concern as she dealt with breast cancer. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ed Flittie Student Scholarship Fund for the Sociology Department or to the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Wyoming, 1200 E. Ivinson Street, Laramie WY 82070.

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