Jack Webster Densmore

Jack Webster Densmore

Jack Webster Densmore dies at 99 and seven months 10/19/2012.

Jack Densmore long time resident of Madison died at Oakwood Village on October 19, 2012. Jack was born April 2, 1913 in Edgewood, Iowa to Lee and Leone (Fritz) Densmore. He was raised in a log cabin in northern Minnesota on his parents homestead in Dentaybow with his sisters Catherine, Jane, and Lorna and brother Frank until his family moved back to Edgewood in 1927.

Jack graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Forestry in 1935 and graduated from the Yale School of Forestry with a Master of Forestry degree in 1938. In 1952, Jack was granted a full fellowship to Harvard University School of Government and received a Masters of Public Administration.

Jack and Betty (Norris) were married in 1941 in Bangor, WI. They enjoyed 71 years of marriage and had three children Ann Densmore, Bloomington, IN, David (Susan Osborn), Orcas, WA, Jean John (Ivor) Santa Barabara, CA and one Granddaughter Jasmine John.

Always a nature boy, Jack’s first professional assignment was as forester-biologist on the first watershed project in the U.S. at Coon Creek, WI from 1935-37. In this capacity, Jack worked with the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps, to establish the contour strip cropping that has become emblematic of WI. From 1938-40, Jack served as the first county assigned Farm Forester in Vernon Co, WI and in 1941 became the Area Forester for southwest WI with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service (SCS). Jack became State Resource Conservationist in the SCS State Office in 1963. In this capacity he was involved in the planning for implementation of the Woodland Management Act, collaborated with SCS Extension and WI Conservation Dept. on the study of forest growth, and conducted studies of infiltration in grazed and ungrazed woodlands in southwest WI. Jack was a member of the Society of American Foresters, a charter member and served on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, and served as program coordinator for Trees for Tomorrow. Jack wrote many articles on forestry and land use for journals such as “Science,” “Wisconsin Agriculturalist” and “Journal of Soil and Water Conservation”. Jack was proud to be recognized as a Fellow of the Soil and Water Conservation Society of America, to receive an Outstanding Leadership Award from the WI Woodland Owners Association, and the Meritorious Award for Outstanding Service to the SCS. After 39 years with SCS, Jack retired in 1974 as regional forester for the Midwest states out of Lincoln Nebraska.

Jack and Betty were charter members of Covenant Presbyterian Church where Jack served as Elder. Jack was also a dedicated member of the Middleton Kiwanis Club and filled all the offices of that service club. His main goal for Kiwanis was the beautification of the entrance to the Lake View Park in Middleton. He spent many hours planting, weeding and generally caring for the plants in that area. He was rewarded for his efforts when he was asked to ride in the Good Neighbor parade in 2003. Jack purchased an 80 acre woodlot in Monroe County in 1938 and spent many happy hours planting, harvesting and caring for the hardwood forest that he nurtured for 61 years.

Jack was always an avid traveler. He loved to take his family on camping trips to explore new areas and experience nature. In retirement, he and Betty traveled to nearly every continent often with Elderhostel. Jack enjoyed learning about new cultures and especially about the way they manage their natural resources. Jack was a man of varied and always expanding interests which he shared with his family and friends. His intellectual curiosity was one of his defining traits. He will be missed by family and friends.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Catherine, Lorna, and Jane. Jack is survived by his wife Mabel Elizabeth (Betty) Densmore, daughters Ann Densmore, Jean John, (Ivor), granddaughter Jasmine John, son David Densmore (Susan Osborn), brother Frank Densmore (Faye) Sun City, AZ and brother-in-law Robert Funk Napa, CA as well as by the hundreds of trees he planted.

Memorial donations may be sent to Wisconsin Nature Conservancy, Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (support.pdf.com) and Covenant Presbyterian Church.

A memorial service will be held November 2, 2012, 1:00 at Covenant Presbyterian Church Madison.