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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Cora-May Jensen, 78, 'ultimate volunteer'

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — Cora-May Jensen, described by one of her friends as the "ultimate volunteer," died Friday at her home in Hilo following a stroke. She was 78.

A registered nurse with a public health degree, Jensen assisted numerous health and relief organizations, most notably the American Red Cross. She went to Kaua'i to aid victims of 1992's Hurricane Iniki and just two years ago helped organize volunteers in the wake of devastating flooding on the Big Island. The Red Cross awarded Jensen a 50-year pin in June 2001 for her lifetime of service.

In 1992, she was named volunteer of the year by the American Cancer Society's Pacific Division, and helped numerous other causes.

"She was the ultimate volunteer," said longtime friend and fellow nurse Carolyn Koehnen.

Koehnen said Jensen also was adept at recruiting other volunteers.

Amy Hamane often tapped Jensen's skills while working as field director of the American Lung Association on the Big Island and later in other capacities. She described Jensen as "just so good. She was willing to helping anyone and everybody. Every time I called, she came."

Hamane said Jensen's volunteer work played an important role in a major drive in 1970 to stamp out tuberculosis.

Along with her late husband Bill, a former sugar official, Jensen loved sports and played tennis and golf.

Jensen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is survived by daughters Penny Paulsen of Washington state, Tracey of Kailua, Kona, and Linda Hans of Oregon; sisters, Kay Speer and Edyth Field of Canada; and three grandchildren.

Friends may call at 3 p.m. Thursday at Dodo Mortuary, with a memorial service 4 p.m. The family requests a donation to a charity in lieu of flowers.