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Elaine Marie (Jensen) Chesley

Elaine Marie (Jensen) Chesley, 84, of Brainerd, passed away Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at Diamond Willow. She was born to Harold and Blanche (Hudgell) Jensen on April 24, 1927 in Grand Forks, N.D.

Elaine served as Grand Forks County’s Young Citizens League secretary in 1940, the year she graduated from Falconer School District 59. She was the winner of a North Dakota spelling contest that same year. She graduated from Central High School in 1943.

She received a diploma in speech from Wesley College, a bachelor of philosophy degree from the University of North Dakota and a master of arts degree from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

Elaine met her cherished husband Tom while they attended Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston and they were married September 25, 1953. At Garrett she served as co-editor of the seminary’s student pages.

After serving as high school and college director of the DeKalb, Ill., Methodist Church, she worked for the Illinois Children’s Home and Aid Society, the Evanston public schools and the University of Minnesota.

She worked with Brainerd’s mayor George Bedard and Port board members in organizing that facility in Brainerd. She was a co-chair with Irene M. Johnson of the Save Brainerd City Hall campaign.

Elaine was a member of the Brainerd Charter Commission, the Brainerd Community Action Council, the League of Women Voters, the DFL party, the Green Party, the American Association of University Women, Women Against Military Madness, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Brainerd Coalition for Peace, Save Our Northland, Minnesotans Opposed to Forced Fluoridation and the North Country CB Club.

Elaine was a member of Park United Methodist Church and the Brainerd Society of Friends (Quakers).

Many of her letters on various social issues appeared in the Brainerd Dispatch and the Minneapolis Tribune.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Jo Ann Stevenson. She is survived by her husband Tom; son Dr. Brent (Laurie) Chesley, Grand Rapids, Mich.; brothers H. Grant (Genie) Jensen, Grand Forks, N.D. and L. Lee Jensen, Farmington, Minn.; and several nieces and nephews.

Burial will be private in Evergreen Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Family being served by:


Funeral & Cremation Care

Brainerd (218) 829-3581