Carol Eckblad Jensen, 75, succumbed to cancer Friday, April 5, 2013, after a valiant struggle, surrounded by her loving family and friends. Carol was born to Helen and Walter Eckblad on March 19, 1938, in Racine, Wisconsin. Carol married her high school sweetheart and life-time soul-mate, Edward Jensen, and was a devoted, loving wife for 53 years. She was the heart of a loving family that included daughters Chari Eastman and her husband Ron, Dawn Kindred and her husband Mike, Pamela Schlief and her husband Tyler, and Gail Jensen and her husband Ed Guzman; and six dearly loved grandchildren, Ian and Ryan Eastman, Jake and Jordan Kindred, and Johnathan and Mackenzie Schlief. The family also includes Carol's beloved sister-in-law, Faye Eckblad, and her daughter Kari Eckblad Harrelson and husband Travis; brother-in-law Karl Jensen and his wife Marilyn, daughters Laurie and Peggy and son Scott and their families; and sister-in-law Mary Volz and her husband Richard, daughter Cindy and her family and sons Rick and Keith. Carol was preceded in death by her loving father and mother, Wally and Helen Eckblad, and her brother, Dan. Wally and Helen taught the Jensens what "family" was all about. Carol is also survived by her Aunt Margaret Eckblad and several cousins on the Eckblad side and several Konicek cousins on her mother's side as well.
Carol loved life and lived big! She had an angelic soprano voice and sang solos and was in choirs from the age of 12. Her love of family and life was an inspiration to all she met, her kind and gentle spirit and ever-positive approach were her hallmarks, although most would say her smile, laugh and sense of humor were her signature features.
Carol attended Belin Memorial Nursing School and the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She worked as a benefits manager at Johnson's Wax, and a Secretary at the Industrial Engineering School at Purdue University, putting Ed through his final year at Purdue. She then became a devoted mother raising four daughters as Ed completed law school and moved the family from Chicago to Racine, Wisconsin, to Houston, to London, England, and back to Houston. She was Ed's office manager and CFO after he limited his law practice to a small firm.
Carol became a devoted volunteer in the Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) and served faithfully for ten years in the 1990s. She started in the Emergency Assistance Area and quickly became a valued asset. She served as Director and Head of the Emergency Assistance Area for six-plus years and was elected President of MAM her seventh year, and Past President thereafter. She continued to support the work that MAM does serving the community.
Carol was a champion in life. She showed courage and grit when the going got tough. She loved music and bridge and travel, and made dear friends in everything she did. Chapelwood United Methodist was her church home, and the Candle Lighter Sunday School class and the choir was where most friendships were created and nurtured. But most of all, Carol loved family. Her goal was to leave the family with joyful memories, and she certainly did that. Family trips to Tuscany, Italy, London, New York, and Vail, Colorado were the most memorable. But simple family celebrations of birthdays, marriages/anniversaries, graduations, births and holidays, were all made special because the family was together and blessed by her hospitality and "presence". Carol especially loved her grandchildren and each knew they had special places in her heart. She was "Mimi" to them all and the saying was "Whatever happens at Mimi's house, stays at Mimi's house."
Carol celebrated life, all of it – the good and the bad. The ritual toast given at every family gathering was "L'Chaim" – as we celebrated and gave thanks for Life, family and whatever the occasion.
A memorial service celebrating Carol's life will be on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at 2:00 P.M. in the Sanctuary of Chapelwood United Methodist Church, 11140 Greenbay St., with Rev. Jim Jackson officiating.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Chapelwood Foundation, Memorial Assistance Ministry, or the