Lenita Bird Heath Jordan Carstens was born in Jefferson, Iowa, to a family which was one of the first to move into Iowa and turned some of the first soil. She has lived her entire life in central Iowa, her adult life in Ames. Lenita married M. Wesley Jordan and together they raised three children: Janis, Ronald, and Craig. She is grandmother to Stacy and Kate Dickens and to Ryan and Andy Jordan. At age 70 she married Robert L. Carstens, ISU professor emeritus, and started a new chapter in her life.
Throughout her life, Lenita has served as a role model to her children, Campfire girls, Boy Scouts, other contacts through numerous activities, and to other women through her church and her work at Iowa State University. She has contributed to the building of community wherever her life has touched, whether with neighbors or through organizations. She has continued to make contributions to institutions, such as the family church in a town where she has not lived for 55 years. At age 70, she volunteered to take over publication of the annual newsletter of her high school graduating class and for the first time in the history of the newsletter achieved an update on every classmate, making phone calls all over the world when necessary.
Lenita is especially a people person. She has been a friend to others in joy as well as in tragedy, to youth and to aged, to bridge players as well as to gin players. She continues to visit very elderly friends and former neighbors, often taking them for a drive to familiar neighborhood or the old homestead or to visit other elderly friends in a town far away.
Lenita is a heroine to her daughter and sons, her grandchildren, and all those whom her life has touched. She has lived the life of a Midwestern housewife, mother, friend, and colleague. Thank you for this plaza, which gives us the chance to recognize this otherwise unsung heroine.
Honored by: Janis Dickens
Section: G Row: 10