Anita Gwen Jensen Mitchell
11/20/1942 - 04/28/2019
Anita was born on November 20, 1942 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Arthur Martin Jensen and Lois Geniel Jensen. She grew up in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Salt Lake City, attending school at Lafayette Elementary and West High School. When her father was called as president of the LDS Uruguayan Mission in 1957, Anita moved with her family to Montevideo. She finished high school there at Institudo Crandon.
After returning to Utah, Anita attended the University of Utah, where she completed the equivalent of two masters degrees in French and Philosophy. Despite a hearing impairment, Anita was fluent in several languages including English, Spanish, French, and Latin.
Throughout her life, Anita was a voracious reader and a gifted writer. She spent most of her career working as an editor. She started her career as an editor for the Instructor and Juvenile Instructor magazines for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She later performed similar work for church-related journals such as Sunstone and Dialogue. Anita subsequently worked as an editor at Compact Classics, where she was one of the primary editors for three editions of “The Great American Bathroom Book.” At various points in her career, Anita also taught Art and Spanish classes in local elementary schools.
In 1976, Anita married her sweetheart, Edgar Bentley Mitchell III. In doing so, she became a stepmother to Ed’s daughters, Janice and Diane. She loved them dearly. Upon getting married, Anita and Ed moved to Houston, Texas, where Ed worked as a Locksmith and Computer Software Engineer. While there, Anita served as the Worthy Matron for the local chapter of the Eastern Star. In 1979, she and Ed joyfully welcomed a son, Bentley. They also loved him dearly.
Following Ed’s unexpected death in 1985, Anita was left a widow. Faced with the difficult prospect of raising a six-year old son by herself, Anita moved back to Utah so that they could be closer to their extended family. In April of 1989, Anita was hospitalized with a serious illness. Although doctors gave her no real chance of survival, Anita beat the odds. After spending several months in a coma and delusional state that she called “Haithor,” and after learning to walk again, she made a miraculous recovery from her illness. Anita went on to live a full life in the three decades that followed. Her family considers each day of her life after that illness to be a gift from God.
After recovering from her illness, Anita moved to Farmington, Utah, before returning to the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Salt Lake City. During those years, she organized a discussion group where she would have deep and insightful discussions with her friends and family. In both those discussion groups and informal visits, Anita regularly kept friends and family up late discussing a variety of topics, including religion, politics, and philosophy. Even in her later years, Anita continued to spearhead book clubs and other discussion forums in the assisted living facilities where she resided.
Anita was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She wrote and participated in a number of plays and other church productions in her local congregations. In addition to accompanying her parents on their mission to Uruguay, Anita faithfully served in a variety of capacities in the Church, including in Primary, Relief Society, Sunday School, and Junior Sunday School.
With a keen intellect, diverse background, a delightful (if sometimes wicked) sense of humor, a kind and giving nature, unconditional love for others, authenticity, and occasional eccentricities, Anita left an indelible impression on all she met. She easily made friends with others from every background. She cherished those friendships, experiences, and what she learned from them. And in the process, Anita proved to be a fierce and loyal friend to all who knew her.
The light of Anita’s life was her family—both those related by blood and those who were so close that they became family. She showed unconditional love to each member of her family; regardless of the circumstances of their lives, she loved, accepted, and welcomed them all. During her later years, Anita’s favorite activities included spending time with her family, going on drives and other outings, and simply visiting with her loved ones. Anita took a special joy and delight in becoming a grandmother (“Nini” or “Abuelita Nini” as she came to be known) in 2007. She adored and doted on her granddaughter, Emma, and both of them cherished the time they spent together.
Although she was not your typical LDS woman, Anita excelled in her roles as a mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother/Nini. Rather than devoting time to things like housekeeping, Anita focused her efforts on modeling and instilling values such as intelligence, faith, tolerance, understanding, kindness, and independence.
Following an illness that left her debilitated, Anita peacefully passed from mortality on April 28, 2019. She is survived by her son, Bentley, and his wife, Amy; a granddaughter, Emma; stepdaughters Janice (Dennis) Brown and Diane (Russ) Roper; brothers Paul (Danelle) and David (Bernarda) Jensen; a cousin Diane (Rulon) DeYoung who was like a sister to her; and many step-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends. While her family and friends will miss her dearly, we rejoice at the joyful reunions she is now having with her husband Edgar, her parents, and numerous other family and friends who preceded her in death.
A memorial service celebrating Anita’s life will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, May 4th at the Capitol Hill Ward (413 N. West Capitol) in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Anita’s request, there will be no viewing. However, family and friends may visit one hour before the services at the Capitol Hill Ward. Interment to follow at the Logan City Cemetery.
The family wishes to express their heartfelt thanks to Christian, Katelyn, and the staff at ComfortWorx, and to all those care providers who helped lovingly care for Anita during her final days and months.