We were saddened this week to hear that Betty Jensen passed away this week. Betty was one of the original "Emmaville Four" of Pop. 4 fame. She and Cal Jensen bought Emmaville in 1976, when it was just a 30' by 40' store and a few cabins. The little store also served as the living quarters back then.
The Jensens embarked on an ambitious expansion project, adding a cafe, a bar, and a modern, attached house for them and the two kids, giving Emmaville its current look. The Jensens also replaced the one-room cabins with a modern motel and a 3-bedroom "cabin", the latter rumored to have been cobbled together from the old cabins. Eventually, they added storage sheds and a car wash.
But the Jensens didn't just change the physical features of our little town. Through their hard work, they soon established it as a tourist destination, a dependable supply stop for fishers, campers and hunters, and an anchor for the growing lake home community in the area. Some of Emmaville's growing popularity could be attributed the funny signs they put up. But I think most of their success came as as result of their blood, sweat and tears.
We first met Betty a few months after we opened, when her friend Pat Sargent and his son Mike brought her out for a look around the place. As she quietly took in our version of Emmaville, tears welled up in her eyes. We had put a shadow box display in the new counter, and had alot of items from Emmaville's history in it, including a brochure with a picture of Betty's kids when they were little. When she saw it, she said, "oh, Pat, it's the babies" and hurried out the door.
Betty came back a few times after that, usually when her grandkids were visiting her. We enjoyed visiting with her then, and soaked up as much advice as she would give us. Mel especially appreciated Betty, finding a kindred spirit. We know Betty loved this place and we know she'll always be part of Emmaville.