Amy Hillyard Jensen

photo of Amy Jensen

Amy Jensen

Amy Hillyard Jensen, age 92, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 2, 2017 in Auburn, Washington.  A near-lifelong resident of the Seattle area, Amy’s life was greatly shaped by the joys (and exasperations) of raising and caring for children.  This began when, as a child herself, she assumed many caretaking responsibilities of her three younger siblings.  At age 19 Amy married her lifelong “love-at-first-sight,” Jay David Jensen, and they soon welcomed eight children into the world.  Still not done with parenting at age 65, to keep her promise to her dying daughter Leslie, Amy assumed the role of mothering her three young grandchildren, Les, Mikah, and Jesse Keller, into adulthood.

Amy leaves behind her 5 surviving children, David C. Jensen of Renton, Daniel L. Jensen of Salt Lake City, Peter S. Jensen of Little Rock, Teresa Jensen Adamson of Ellensburg, and Demeree Jensen Schaefer of Seattle.  She is also survived by a brother, Maurice D. Hillyard, Jr., of Arizona, and 24 grandchildren and 46 great-grandchildren.  Amy was preceded in death by her husband, Jay David Jensen, two sons, Michael D. Jensen and Eric D. Jensen, and a daughter, Leslie Jensen Keller.

While her husband was a busy Seattle-area landscape architect and land planner, Amy was fully occupied with shaping and planning the landscape of her children’s lives, ensuring that they each learned to play a musical instrument, participated in church choir, and experienced the value of good books and service to others.

Amy was an avid conversationalist.  Her friends found her a ready confidant, always willing to help others to find meaning and comfort in life, despite its inevitable trials and tragedies.  When her own life course and parenting hopes were devasted after the accidental deaths of her two youngest sons, she sought solace in Compassionate Friends, a national non-profit that supports individuals who have lost children or other loved ones.  Eventually, she reshaped her own landscape of loss by writing several self-help booklets for grieving families and relatives – sharing the lessons she had learned from her own sorrows. Healing Grief, the first pamphlet, has sold over 4 million copies since its first publication in 1980, and is widely used by grief counselors, therapists, and hospice organizations.  A second booklet, Is There Anything I Can Do?, provides guidance to friends of grieving families, and has sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide.

Amy’s friends and family will remember her for her wit and wisdom, persistence in the face of recurring loss, and for turning sorrow into service of others.  Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 8th, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 10675 N.E. 20th St., Bellevue

8 Responses to “Amy Hillyard Jensen”

  • Janice and Tom Honeycutt says:

    Amy is such an amazing and inspirational woman. Wishing your family peace, love, and comfort at this time.

    Janice and Tom Honeycutt

  • Kim Cooney says:

    Amy and I share special bonds. We are creative and expository writers, we loved choral singing under the direction of my mother, and we love every member of her family.

  • Ingrid Fuhriman says:

    I always loved and admired Amy. She was a bright star that I looked up to as a young married woman. Her life was full of tragedy and sorrow, yet she was able to present herself as so charming, so calm and so supportive to those who were suffering since she knew suffering first hand. Loved her husband and family too. Hope she is enjoying her reunion with loved ones on the other side of the veil.

  • Billie Coldren Stark says:

    Dearest Family,
    My heart is full of memories as I reflect the life of your beautiful mother. She and my mother, Jessie Coldren were forever friends. I could tangibly feel and see the love between these ladies. They spent many hours together, whether it was on the phone, singing together, choir practice or quietly leaning on each other in times of trial. Your mother was a strength and inspiration to all she met.
    I am sorry for your loss. May you find comfort in each other and know that you will see your precious mother again one day.

  • Patty Ryan Stone says:

    To the family of Amy and Jay David,

    You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this time of your mother’s passing. When my mother, NormaDee Ryan, received the news about Amy she requested that I write something nice on the registry so that you would know of her love for your mother. When our families lived in Bellevue in 1969 we formed many friendships between us and even with life’s constant changes those friendships remain. Mom loved, admired and found solace in sharing similar challenges and blessings of raising large families with your mother. Also, my mom loved getting to know and love each of you, including your siblings that have passed on. On behalf of my husband Greg, NormaDee and myself, we send our condolences to you all.

    Patty Ryan Stone

  • Patty Ryan Stone says:

    To Amy and Jay David’s family, you are in our thoughts at this time of your mother’s passing. When our families lived in Bellevue in 1969 many friendships were formed between our two families and even with the passage of time they still remain. My mother NormaDee Ryan loved, admired and found solace in sharing similar experiences with your mom about raising large families. Likewise, she loved getting to know each of you. On behalf of my husband Greg, NormaDee and myself we express our condolences. Patty

  • Heather McKenzie Davidson says:

    It’s almost Mother’s Day 2021 and I just saw your Mother’s obituary. I am Bernice McKenzie’s youngest child and she and Amy were good friends. Amy touched my life… I have many memories of her. I was 11, when my father was dying of cancer and Amy took me to Fredrick & Nelsons and bought my Dad pajamas, so I would have a gift for him on Father’s Day and she bought me a delicious frango mint milkshake! Amy was SO thoughtful to spend her time with me, considering she had 8 children of her own. Christmas 1964 or 65, she dropped off an anonymous $100 check …(we found out years later). She overcame incredible heartache losing 3 of her children. Amy was bright, strong, articulate and kind woman who had a HUGE heart. Amy taught me what real compassion looks like.

  • Amy Silverman says:

    Dearest Amy…I did not meet you in this life, but your beautiful work has comforted me during grief, in a way that no one else could. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Love, Amy

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