Cover photo for Shirley Joan Jensen's Obituary
Shirley Joan Jensen Profile Photo
1941 Shirley 2024

Shirley Joan Jensen

May 15, 1941 — March 16, 2024

     Shirley Joan Jensen passed away Saturday, March 16, 2024 at the Exira Care Center in Exira, Iowa. She was 82 years old.

     Shirley was born May 15, 1941, in a white clapboard two-story Sears & Roebuck farmhouse in rural Guthrie county. She was the fourth child and second daughter born to hard-working parents Marian (Lipke England) and Jens Edwin Jensen. J. Edwin was a second-generation Danish immigrant.

     As a child Shirley helped her mother in the kitchen and garden, while her brothers and father worked the farm outside. She canned vegetable and fruit preserves, baked, and prepared meals with her mother. Each morning she made breakfast for the family while her mother tended the chickens and gathered eggs, and the boys milked the cows. She was always happy to oblige the custom-menu request from one special brother, who preferred his eggs sunny-side up. Shirley said she “washed a lot of dishes” growing up.

     Shirley had a beloved pony named Trixie. She dreamed of traveling the world as a trick-rider and performer in rodeos and Hollywood Westerns.

     Instead, Shirley married her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, Danny Lee Jensen, on January 18, 1959. They moved to a small home in Audubon Heights, where they started their lives and family. Soon they purchased an acreage south of Audubon where they lived for the next 55 years.

     Shirley and Dan shared many interests, from a love of all things Elvis, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, to a passion for horses, antique buggies and carriages. They were members of the Audubon County Saddle Club and enjoyed many trail rides together. Shirley was a founding and lifelong member of the Wild Women of the West Club.

     Shirley and Dan owned Quarter Horses and Haflingers, a breed of small Austrian draft horses. They had a collection of antique buggies. Driving horses was a lifelong joy and hobby. Her favorite pony to drive was a paint named Little Joe. Shirley enjoyed helping her kids and grandkids learn to ride and show horses in the 4H club at the county fair. This will always be a special memory for them.

     During her life, Shirley worked at the Audubon Friendship Home and was a life insurance agent with an office at Landmands National Bank. Shirley sold imported Danish plates and collectibles from a small gift shop she created in her recreation room. Shirley and Dan raised pure-bred AKC Pomeranians which they sold across the country.

     Shirley was a lifelong member of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Audubon, Iowa, where she volunteered and helped serve lunches for funerals, weddings and anniversary celebrations. Christmas and holidays were special occasions at her home, which she lovingly decorated.


     Shirley is survived by three children, Rod Jensen and wife Mary Kay, Deb McKnight and husband Rich, and Jay Jensen. She will always be loved and remembered as a special mother. Once, after the boys had turned her front lawn into a dirt-packed go-kart track, a friend asked Shirley why she allowed it. Shirley’s reply, “When my kids are gone, there will be plenty of time for grass in the yard.”

     Preceding her in death were loving husband Danny Lee Jensen, sister Ardyth Mae, who died in infancy, brother Roger Jensen, sister-in-law Marlene Jensen, brother-in-law Sam Grabill, nephews Scot and Kurt Jensen, and Rory Davis. Survivors include sister-in-law Shirley Grabill of Audubon, brothers Richard Jensen, Robert Jensen and wife Pam of Audubon, and Clark Jensen and wife Christine of Ankeny, sister-in-law Joan and husband Jerry Davis of Camden, MO; brother-in-law Jerry Jensen and wife Treva of Audubon.

     Shirley leaves six grandchildren, Angela Jensen-Blackford of Omaha, NE, Erik Jensen of Berkeley, CA, Christina Jensen of Minneapolis, MN, Lindsey Stock of Urbandale, Amy Guenther of Cedar Falls, and Drew Groteluschen of Huxley, IA; ten great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

     Shirley’s children wish to thank the staff at Exira Care Center for their compassionate care of our mother. We thank her family and friends for their prayers and expressions of sympathy during this difficult time. 

     The family will meet with friends Saturday morning, April 13, 2024, from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the service at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Audubon, Iowa. The Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be conducted by Pastor Chris Townsend on Saturday morning, April 13, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Audubon. Inurnment will be in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Audubon.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Joan Jensen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, April 13, 2024

9:30 - 10:30 am (Central time)

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

326 Leroy Street, Audubon, IA 50025

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

326 Leroy Street, Audubon, IA 50025

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Maple Grove Cemetery

, Audubon, IA 50025

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 81

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree