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Submitted by Jim Bierman on Tue, 10/18/2011 - 11:44am
Marie Haefliger Jensen, age 85 of Northfield, passed away on Monday, October 17th, with her children at her side at the Northfield Hospital.
Marie was born on July 19th, 1926, in Dixon, Illinois, to William and Katherine Haefliger. She graduated from Carleton College in 1947 and received her Master’s degree in Music from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1948. She then joined the Carleton College faculty as an Assistant Professor of Music, working on her doctorate at Northwestern University during the summers. She married Carleton biology professor Paul Jensen on June 15, 1958, at the Northfield Episcopal Church. She never regretted her decision to marry and raise children rather than complete her Ph.D., and thought that Northfield was the perfect place for bringing up children.
The Jensens had three children, Katherine, Niels and Karen. Katherine preceded Marie in death in 1963. Marie stayed home to raise children for a number of years and then returned to Carleton to teach piano part-time. She taught a number of piano students and music classes and performed solo or with others in many public concerts.
In the early 1970s Marie became involved in city government, starting with an effort to save the Sibley marsh. After attending city council and planning commission meetings for several years, she served two terms, 1978-1983, on the city council. This was followed by three years on the planning commission. During this time she also observed numerous county government meetings as a member of the League of Women Voters, helping to ensure that government activities were accessible to citizens and not conducted without scrutiny. She was known for her meticulous attention to detail in city work and planning efforts. In addition to her work in government, Marie had many volunteer commitments, including the Northfield Hospital Auxiliary and the League of Women Voters. She also co-founded the environmental group HATPIN (Housewives Alert to Pollution in Northfield). Marie never hesitated to pitch in locally when help was needed. She could be found at blood drives, the voting booth, park board, supporting sister city cultural exchange programs, and advocating for environmental preservation, parks, and natural places in and near Northfield. Her tireless efforts showed her dedication to citizen participation in government, building community at the local level, and her commitment to preserving the environment.
Marie is survived by her husband Paul Jensen, and children Niels Jensen (wife Afsi Moaveni) of Santa Rosa, California, and Karen Jensen (husband David James) of Fairbanks, Alaska and four grandchildren, and her brother William W. Haefliger (wife Joan) of San Marino, California. Donations in her memory may be made to the Nature Conservancy of Minnesota, 1101 West River Parkway, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN, 55415-1291. Condolences may be sent to Karen Jensen at 3047 Ester Dome Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99709, or Niels Jensen at 3099 Las Mesitas Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95405.
Arrangements by the Bierman Funeral Home.