Esther Carrie Osher Jensen

Honored by:Helen Howe
Brick location:C:1  map

Undoubtedly the person who influenced my life the most was my mother, Esther Osher Jensen. By her example she taught my sisters, brothers and me to be honest, industrious and respectful of others. She never spoke of other people unless it was in praise of them. Her Christian faith and values were evident at all times during her life.

Esther Carrie Osher was born June 11, 1897, in Graettinger, Iowa, to Karen, Sophia and Herman Osher. She was the sixth child born of that union. A brother and two sisters had died before she was born. During her childhood, she lived with her grandparents in the house next door. Mother had the good fortune to be able to attend college--attending three years at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and graduating from Iowa University in 1918.

She was an English and Latin teacher in her home town and in Lone Rock, Iowa, where she went as a bride in 1919. Mother married Ernest Jensen in October of that year. She lived the life of a mother, wife and homemaker, participating in school, community and church activities. She was always supportive of her children; attending concerts, plays and other school functions in spite of the fact that she was deaf to the point that she seldom heard more than a few notes played or sung.

Her handicap was never considered that in our family. She had learned early in life to read lips and one-on-one conversations were easy. She did not ask nor expect sympathy in regards to her disability--just that we speak to her directly and enunciate clearly so conversation was easier. Mother was a lady, a gracious hostess, a supportive parent and friend, an artist and a lover of nature and the beauty found there.

She and my father reared four children during the worst part of the Depression, yet we never felt poor. She managed to feed Dad the meals he liked, make and remake clothing for us children and herself, and help those who had less. Mother had gardens; a vegetable for necessity and a flower garden for beauty. Two more children were born to Mother after the financial crisis was past, so her years of making the family income stretch continued for many years. She had been known to say she had a preschooler for 25 years. I think it kept her young.

My mom kept her composure as she dealt with all the problems of having a family. She nursed us through mumps, measles, chicken pox, whooping cough and scarlet fever. When we needed a morale boost, she was there; when we volunteered her cookies, she came through; when her husband needed a lift, I'm sure she was there. Perhaps it was her faith or maybe she was just too busy helping others, but she said she didn't know the pain of worry until her junior high school son lay in a hospital bed critically ill with rheumatic fever. I think she just felt so very helpless. Mother died in 1972, but still I'm often reminded of her when I see an especially beautiful sunset or watch birds at the feeder on a winter day. Mother left her family a legacy of wonderful memories.

Submitted by Helen Jensen Howe