Sarah Jepsen

Sarah F. Jepsen, 98, of Omaha, formerly of Minden, passed away on Friday, June 18, 2021 at the Douglas County Health Center in Omaha. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 24, 2021 at the Westminster United Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Sharon Rees officiating. The service will be streamed to the church’s Facebook page. Interment will be held following services at the Minden Cemetery with military honors presented by the Minden American Legion and Heartwell Veterans of Foreign Wars. Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at the Craig Funeral Home in Minden. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Sarah’s honor are kindly suggested to the Minden Opera House. Craig Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. 

Sarah Francis (Cooper) Jepsen was born, August 27, 1922, in a sod house in Catherton Precinct, Webster County, Neb., to Richard Ignatius Cooper and Bertha E. (Bliss) Cooper.

She attended country school, North Star District 66, kindergarten through 8th grade and graduated from Red Cloud High School in 1941. She worked at the Agriculture Adjustment Association before joining the military and serving in the Women’s Army Corps as a private first class during World War II. She had basic training in Des Moines, Iowa, and was stationed in Rome, N.Y., Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Papua, New Guinea.

She took a troop train to San Francisco, passing through the famous North Platte Canteen. From San Francisco, she sailed several days on a troop ship to Pearl Harbor, then crossed the equator and arrived in Australia, where she stayed in the harbor for three days before a troop ship took her to Papua, New Guinea, where she served as a clerk typist.

When her enlistment ended, she flew home from Manilla, Philippines, where she had been hospitalized with an injury, to San Francisco, stopping in Guam. From California, she took a bus to Omaha, then another to Hastings and a third to Red Cloud.

She enrolled in Hastings College in the fall on the GI Bill and graduated in three years with a bachelor’s in business. She attended summer school at the University of Northern Colorado, and later received her master’s from Kearney State College.

She taught school for one year in Edgar, Neb., and for one year in Kenesaw, Neb., and four years in Minden, Neb. 

She met the love of her life, Vernon W. Jepsen, at a Hastings College football game and married him, July 28, 1954, in the Hastings College Memorial Chapel.

They lived in an apartment on Brown Avenue in Minden for one year and then moved to the Jepsen family farm. They built a home in Minden and moved back into town in 1962.

When she wasn’t teaching, she had worked in the law offices of Martin Stirtz and Martin.  

She became acting Kearney County Superintendent of Schools in May 1972 and was appointed deputy superintendent in July. She ran for superintendent and won, beginning her first term, January 1, 1974, and was reelected many times, retiring when her last term ended, January 1, 1994. She was a strong believer in education and insisted that her children take advantage of the educational opportunities available.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon; her parents; sisters Helen Whitmore, Mabel Skjelver, Mary Lambrecht, Georgia Cooper, Ada Blankenbaker and Clara Williams; brothers-in-law, Hyatt Whitmore, Robert Skjelver, Malcolm Lambrecht, Lee Blankenbaker and Owen Williams; nieces, Marilyn Buenker and Bertha Jameson.

 She is survived by her son, William Allen Jepsen, B.S. 1982 Kearney State College, MOTM, 2000, University of Denver; daughter, Elizabeth Sue Jepsen, B.A., 1983, University of Nebraska; brother, Richard Cooper; and many nieces and nephews.

She enjoyed her family, gardening and handicrafts, which won numerous ribbons at the Kearney County Fair. 

Tributes and memories can be shared with the family at www.craigfunerals.com.