"I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck."
Caregiving was second nature to high school sweethearts Shirley and Palmer Jensen. In turn, both were beloved by their cherished family, friends, and community. They aimed to make a difference in the lives of their loved ones and their community, no matter how big or small, and they certainly did.
Born and raised in Iowa, Shirley graduated from Denison High School, Iowa Methodist School of Nursing, and Humboldt State College, followed by a long, rewarding career as a registered nurse. It was also in Iowa that Shirley met future husband Palmer Jensen. In their family, a popular saying was "I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck" and love was abundantly shared.
Shirley’s early nursing career involved working and teaching in hospitals in Iowa and South Dakota, but Shirley really found what she loved after she and Palmer moved to Arcata and she started working for Dr. E. Burns Lee. She also worked for Dr. Burns's son, Dr. Christopher Burns until her retirement. She loved her job, the patients they treated, and the Lee family. Patients said that Shirley was the best “shot giver” around; later she would teach injection classes to student nurses in Humboldt County.
Palmer graduated from Humboldt with a degree in Industrial Arts in 1961. After graduation, they moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where Palmer worked for Ozark Airlines. In 1966 they returned to Arcata, California where Palmer worked for Bay Freight/System 99, Emilio Giori, and later as Equipment Manager for Humboldt State University. Palmer was widely known for his unique and ever-present sense of humor, evoking a family friend to say that Shirley married him because he made her laugh.
In memory of the Jensens, Robert Campbell created the Shirley and Palmer Jensen Memorial Nursing Scholarship Fund to support Cal Poly Humboldt Nursing students. Rob met the Jensens and their family while studying at HSU. They welcomed him with open arms, often inviting him to share a meal and to watch football on Sundays. In starting this scholarship fund, Rob hopes to create a lasting memory of the Jensens and encourage the next generation of nurses to carry forward the care and kindness they both embodied.