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In Memory . . . Timothy Ward Jensen (1956-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Dr. Timothy Ward Jensen.  He died on Sunday, August 9, 2009 of lung cancer in the presence of family and friends at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA.  He was 52. Rev. Jensen was born on October 22, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, to Gerald and Betty Jo Jensen.  After graduating from Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington, he attended the University of Washington earning a BA in English in 1978, the first of his five college degrees.  He moved east, attending Harvard Divinity School where he earned an M Div degree in 1981.  While at Harvard, he interned at First and Second Church in Boston under the supervision of Rhys Williams, a relationship that continued to inform his ministry for years to come.   He was ordained there in 1981.

Returning home, Rev. Jensen enrolled in a Masters program in English and Creative Writing at Western Washington University in Bellingham.  He also served as intern assistant minister at University Unitarian Church in Seattle.  In 1985 he was called to the UU Church of Midland, Texas where he served for 3 years.  In 1988, he was appointed New Congregation Minister for the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Washington County in Hillsboro, Oregon, and served there until 1990.

Rev. Jensen then held a series of part-time ministries, worked as a bookseller, and held graduate teaching fellowships while earning his last two degrees, an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Oregon State University and a PhD in American History from the University of Oregon.  He also spent a semester as a visiting scholar at Aalborg University in Aalborg, Denmark.

Returning to full-time ministry, Rev. Jensen was the interim minister to the Second Congregational Meeting House on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts.  He was then called to the First Religious Society of Carlisle, Massachusetts where he served for 4 years.  Shortly after being called to the First Parish Portland Maine Unitarian Universalist, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  With support from the congregation and his colleagues, Rev. Jensen continued to serve until his health forced him to retire.

Rev. Jensen loved to read and write.  His library numbered over seven thousand volumes and since 2006 he shared his wisdom and his wit through his blog, The Eclectic Cleric. He also enjoyed sailing, playing basketball, and playing with his loyal Boston terrier, Parker.

Rev. Jensen is survived by his father, Jerry Jensen, and Jerry’s wife Debra; his two brothers, Kurt and Erik; his former wife Margaret Weddell; and his two children, Stephenie and Jacob. He was preceded in death by his mother, Betty Jo.  Rev. Jensen wished any remembrances to be made to the American Cancer Society or the SPCA. Messages of condolence may be sent to Jerry Jensen, 5043 Primrose Drive, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.

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