The GSBA Blog

Remembering a Community Leader: Karen Jensen

| May 26, 2017
karen obituary may 2017Karen Marie Jensen loved friends and family, math and mountains, sailboats and softball, Sousa marches and The Beach Boys. At the age of 61, on May 21, 2017 Karen died following the removal of a brain tumor. 

Karen grew up on the beach in Coronado, California, playing tuba in the school band. She moved to Oak Harbor, Washington with parents, Joe and Shirley Jensen, where she finished high school, later graduating from UCLA and settling in Seattle. Working in a Seattle print shop she met the love of her life, Patty Carlisle. They went on to create and run Urban Press together for more than 30 years. 

Karen was warm and generous, giving her time and energy to anyone who asked. Over the years she tutored kids in math, worked with the APP Task Force, served on the boards of the Lesbian Resource Center and the Federation of Gay Games. She passionately wanted to make the world better for young people.

Karen’s greatest joy, though, came as a parent. She spent endless hours sharing her love of books by reading aloud to her daughter. She went to PTA meetings and watched youth soccer in the rain. Karen and Patty’s daughter Monica is fierce and fearless, and she filled Karen’s heart like no other.

Karen is survived by her wife Patty Carlisle, daughter Monica Jensen, siblings Heidi Holmes, Chuck Jensen and wife Jan, John Jensen and husband Bill, and a cadre of nieces and nephews. Her chosen family included Nancy Hawkins, Andie Anderson, Emily Martin, Camber Grant, and Paaqua Grant and his wife Caitrin Elwell. She loved you all.

Karen possessed quiet grace, soft-spoken intelligence and unmatched kindness. A celebration of life event will be announced. Family requests tributes be directed to Girls in Engineering Math and Science or The Trevor Project.