Retirement looks good on just about everyone. But two retirements for one person look great, feel great, and are to be envied! Such is the case with a very special and remarkable Green Valley woman.

But let’s start at the beginning. Always smart, always precocious, and always the pride of her parents, so much so that she was called Junior, after her successful father. She never let her parents or her workplace down…she was the brightest, the hardest worker and the most prepared for what came next. And Virginia Jensen never knew what that might be, but she knew that whatever it was, she could do it, do it better, and get it done. You see, Virginia (later known as Ginny) was on the forefront of the women’s movement and didn’t even know it.

As women began moving into careers other than nursing and teaching, Ginny realized that her near perfect secretarial skills could open doors.

Beginning in a private business school working three jobs (secretarial, marketing, and teaching), Ginny learned that honing her skills would lead her into jobs that most women might be able to do…only she did them better. She realized that IBM, one of America’s leading companies, was searching for talent, and she had a lot of it. So began, her decades long career with the one of the most profitable companies in the Western hemisphere. From secretary to executive secretary to branch manager to district manager in just six years, Ginny broke records to become one of the most successful women in Human Resource Management as the Director of the Western Division of the United States.

Thirty years later, she walked away with accolades, success stories, and a husband, who was also an IBM executive, and would spend the latter portion of their wonderful lives in the desert, in a little village called Green Valley in a very different, very hot area of America, Arizona! They never looked back!

The rest of her story: In 2005, she met the uniquely creative and dynamic, Patti O’Berry, and together they would learn to respect each other’s drive, curiosity and professionalism in the political arena, which would lead to a lifetime friendship and partnership in a non-profit organization, Patti had begun years before she met Ginny. Ginny and Patti worked side by side, six days a week for 13 years, with Hands of a Friend Foundation, DaZee’s Resale Boutiques, and Genesis House Shelter helping to create a special place for which victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and human trafficking could find a day’s ease, in order for each one and their children could be safe, nurtured and educated in the laws, their rights and their resources.

Ginny, her faithful companion, Gidget, and her decade-old VW beetle, became a familiar and welcome sight each day as they made the rounds between DaZee’s and DaZee’s Too, helping where they could, and always being there when needed.

This then, is Virginia Jensen, business woman extraordinaire, generous charitable giver, and faithful friend to all of “her” volunteers, and to Patti, her most favorite working partner and friend.

Congratulations! Congratulations! You deserve this salutation twice. Ginny…we love you; we love you (and that one)!

Dr. Madelaine Paschal is Chief Marketing Officer for Hands of a Friend/Genesis House Shelter.

Editor’s note: Our best wishes and thanks to Ginny Jensen, one of Green Valley’s very remarkable people, always content to work behind the scenes without the applause. You’re the best, Ginny!

— Dan Shearer

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