From the Madison Memorial Service
Scott, Barbara, Zoe and Noah Kloeck-Jenson
October 7, 1999
Eulogy for Scott, Barbara, Zoe and Noah Kloeck-Jenson
Delivered by Bill Thiesenhusen
former Director, Land Tenure Center
The news that Scott, Barbara, Zoe and Noah had perished in an automobile accident in South Africa was devastating to those of us in the Land Tenure Center. We cannot even imagine the overwhelming grief that was felt by the parents and grandparents of these young people. Today we have set aside time on a dark day turned light to come to this beautiful place to honor and remember this exemplary family.
I would like to begin with a word or two about gaining the ability to withstand loss. It is my belief that we should regard it as an unsolvable enigma when bad things happen to good people. And these were good people-the best. They are people who will live on forever in our memories and in our thoughts. There has not been a day since their deaths that I have not thought of Scott, Barbara, and their two children. My emotional reaction-one that I know must be changed-still is "why them"? How can such an event happen to people in their prime and their children?
The answer is not easily forthcoming. Indeed if one is not careful one's thoughts may become more muddled through time and not less as other more future-oriented questions are added: what could they all have become? They had so much potential and such great gifts. What contributions to society will not be realized because they are gone?
This incessant questioning comes from our anger about the situation however unjustifiable that anger might be. We may be angry at the universe, the divine being, the perpetrators, ourselves. It also seems to originate from the fact that we are used to solving problems by using logic, mustering statistics, and employing experimental design. But these tools of our trade are all but totally useless in helping us understand a tragedy like this one.
Events like this and the questions they raise brings us to a point where life seems so confusing that it swamps our coping mechanisms. In fact life is never really too much for us, but it can surely seem to be for a time. We usually get what we can handle. When we feel life is too much for us we have to get life back in focus and that will not happen if we are spending time endlessly asking those questions to which there are no good answers.
Twenty years ago, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a book entitled When Bad Things Happen to Good People. He tells of an encounter with a temple member who asked him, "If the bad things that happen to us are the results of bad luck, and not the will of God, what makes bad luck happen?" It was that question which led to Kushner's book. Kushner writes "I was stumped for an answer. My instinctive response was that nothing makes bad luck happen; it just happens. But I suspected that there must be more to it than that." Kushner continues, "Can you accept that idea that some things happen for no reason, that there is randomness in the universe? Some people cannot handle that idea. They look for connections, striving desperately to make sense of all that happens. They convince themselves that God is cruel, or that they are sinners, rather than accept randomness. Sometimes, when they have made sense of ninety percent of everything they know, they let themselves assume that the other ten percent makes sense also, but lies beyond the reach of their understanding. But why do we have to insist on everything being reasonable? Why must everything happen for a specific reason? Why can't we let the universe have a few rough edges?"
Kushner suggests a further explanation. Aside from some randomness in the universe, the laws of nature treat everyone alike. "They do not make exceptions for good people or for useful people. If a person enters a home where someone has a contagious disease they run the risk of catching that disease. It makes no difference why the person is in the house. He may be a doctor or a burglar; disease germs cannot tell the difference. Laws of nature do not make exceptions for nice people. A bullet has no conscience; neither does a malignant tumor or an automobile gone out of control."
What I am implying is that in order to reclaim our serenity after such a blow, we need to stop asking unanswerable questions and accept what has happened as a fact. Acceptance in the face of inevitability is the only real source of our achieving tranquility, serenity, and peace. It is also known as "surrender," and "bowing to the inevitable." Acceptance is the remedy for moral turmoil, for the endless asking of the question why, for the constant speculation about what might have been.
But easier said than done. Such acceptance takes time, perhaps lots of it. We all need to accept the fact that there is a certain amount of randomness, of mystery in life. We also need to accept the fact that in the main there is no going against the laws of nature. While this is hard to do it must be done by all of us. We can do it.
It is much better for us to concentrate on the legacy of these young people and not on "why did it happen" and "what might have been." And such a bright legacy Scott, Barbara and their children left us. So let us recall and celebrate their accomplishments! They set a terrific example for us.
Scott and Barbara met while serving in the Peace Corps in Lesotho. I did not know Barbara well but I know that Scott often said in the face of a challenge "I'll have to check with Barbara to see what she thinks" Sometimes he said, "I wanted Barbara to read the draft before I sent it to you." Scott trusted her more than anyone else. Barbara was always busy, with her own children and with running a nursery school program while in Maputo and helping Scott.
Scott was named head of the LTC's Mozambique project because he simply rose to the top in the interviews. It was obvious that he loved Africa and was anxious to serve there. By the time he went to Mozambique for us we had great faith in his ability to work under difficult and demanding conditions. We also were impressed that in addition to the purely academic and discovery parts of his duties there, he ranked what we might call extension work or outreach very highly. In Moz Scott ran a regular seminar at the university and, as the LTC is wont to do, involved these Mozambican students in the research work. He also proved adept at administration of the project; he realized that the local AID mission and the embassy had to be kept informed on how well the project was coming and he had to make numerous reports to the full expatriate community as well as to Mozambican authorities. Aside from a lot of innate talent and intelligence, his Peace Corps training and his knowledge of Portuguese also stood him in good stead.
He even went so far to promote good relations as to play poker fairly regularly with the American ambassador and some of his staff. A great twist on the much-heralded "Wisconsin Idea:" it can also include playing poker!
Scott's hallmarks were his strong character, integrity, intelligence and his love for his family. He also impressed me with his optimism about outcomes, the sensitivity he had for human relations and his devotion to doing every job to the best of his ability. My biggest problem with Scott was his willingness to take on more tasks than any human could expect to do. I remember, after particularly difficult assignments, urging him to take some time with his family. He usually took my advice.
More than any other person on our LTC staff, Patty Grubb worked closely with Scott as his Madison counterpart. I asked Patty to gather up her remembrances of working with Scott and I would like to share Patty's words with you now. Patty says, " I remember the first time I ever heard of Scott. Kevin Bohrer came into my office telling me that Scott would be his successor as research assistant on the Mozambique project. I paused at the mention of his name-I hadn't encountered many men with hyphenated names. When I later learned that it was a combination of his and his wife's names, it was the first of many times I was to be impressed with Scott Kloeck-Jenson. I found him as an RA to be efficient and hard-working, and he managed to find the right balance between requests from the field in Mozambique by the then Project Director and the reality of the time it takes to process payments and orders through the University of Wisconsin.
Scott was always patient. I have a picture in my mind of him leaning with his arm on the top of the cabinet in my office as he patiently waited for me to finish whatever I was doing so he could ask for something he needed.
I remember when Barbara was pregnant with Zoe. Since I was the experienced mother of three boys, Scott thought he could learn all there was to know from me about pregnancy, birth, and parenting and we shared many conversations as he anxiously awaited Zoe's birth. Then Noah joined the family and I quickly came to realize that I know very little about how to be a parent. Scott and Barbara defined the role, and I was the one who learned from them.
Throughout the years that Scott was in Mozambique and I worked for him from Madison, I enjoyed his constant humor and good spirits. He had an enviable way of dealing with situations: he could always find something humorous to say about anything. He never complained, even when things in Mozambique were more than a team of people could have dealt with. He took the reins of a program in turmoil and turned it into an organized, exciting research program, and he quickly gained the respect of so many Mozambicans with his quiet, caring manner. He made everyone around him feel important and useful. You'd think a severe case of malaria would give him a good reason to be a bit cranky, but not Scott. I remember talking with him from his hospital bed in London and I asked how he was feeling. 'Not so bad' was his response trying to make his weak voice sound stronger. But I knew better.
Scott always stayed on the top of Wisconsin sports events, especially the Packers, much to the dismay of his Minnesota Vikings family! He also stayed on top of our basketball final four contest. Scott and I shared a fondness for Bud light beer, or so he told me, which highly distressed the micro-brew types around here.
Scott also had an uncanny knack for knowing when I was feeling down, and instead of the usual email message, the phone would ring. I never understood how he knew. But he never failed to make me feel good about myself and my work, even when I felt I was letting him down by not getting to his work as quickly as I always strived to. The patience I witnessed in Madison continued in Mozambique.
I am a better person for knowing Scott Kloeck-Jenson. His intelligence, his integrity, his compassion, his dedication-the list is never ending and I only hope to live my life half as well as he did his. As I've come to know and love his family these past months, there is no doubt where he learned to be the person he was and I know how proud of him they are. It was a rare privilege to have known Scott and I treasure having had the opportunity." Thanks Patty.
I talked to John Bruce who would like to be here today but couldn't. He asked me to be sure to remember Barbara. She believed Scott's work was important and supported him greatly. Besides, she was thought of highly in her own right as co-founder and teacher at the nursery school I referred to earlier. John had talked to some of the parents of the nursery school students while he was in Maputo. They were delighted that this school existed.
John called Scott a "happy warrior" in the eulogy he gave at the Maputo services. He performed particularly well when it came to giving practicality to the results of his research-turning it into policy. He also believed in working closely with development and environmental NGOs. John says "He plunged into his work with enthusiasm. He was never discouraged in a situation in which you were always taking two steps forward and maybe two steps-at least one-back again! His students were fond of him and enjoyed working with him. He relished working on difficult issues. If I had to use one phrase to describe Scott, it would probably be Scott had integrity. " The words of John Bruce.
To return to my earlier theme: What should we do to memorialize this family? A first step, it seems to me, is to stop asking why and what might have been? We need to accept the situation, taking away lessons from the too short but exemplary lives of Barbara and Scott, Zoe and Noah. We need to concentrate on their lives, their example, their legacy. For only by accepting will we who are left behind be able to find tranquility, serenity, and peace. Remember with me the serenity prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference."
Thoughts for Barbara, Scott, Zoe, and Noah
Delivered by Laura Banks
When I was younger I thought that to change the world a person needed to be Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, J.S. Bach, Toni Morrison. As an undergraduate I took philosophy courses, fascinated by the way people may have changed the world by speaking the way humanity thought or changing the way humanity thought. I was taken with literature, intrigued by history, by the huge markers that survived to delineate our movement as humanity. I dreamt of my part. I wanted to change the world, to mark the world, to make the world better for my having been here.
Now I have begun to learn bit by bit that these major figures do indeed change the world and have their significance but that the world is changed and becomes better one kind act at a time, one kind person at a time. As I learn from other people how to give more, more freely, to judge less, less often, to do what is right more quickly with more conviction, the world is changed and others in turn learn from me. The big stuff is interesting and neat and important, but life is lived day to day in small details and this is where the world moves and exists and changes.
I want to thank Barbara and Scott, Zoe and Noah, and their families, the Kloeck’s and the Jenson’s, for blessing my life, the lives of the people I love, and the lives of many many people in the world. For making the world a better place. By their lives and commitment Barbara and Scott changed who my husband Jared and I are, who many people are.
I was at work on a Thursday morning when I found out Barbara, Scott, Zoe, and Noah had died. I called home to check in on my own boys--Jared and our two sons--to chat, to pass a minute when Jared told me Janet Eisenhauer had brought Clara to play and that as they left home LTC called to tell her of the accident. There were no details at that point, only that they were in a car accident and that they had all died. I felt numb, full of disbelief, thinking I must somehow have misunderstood. It felt impossible that like a flip of the switch lives could be extinguished. That quickly. Just gone. That the momentum and details, the fatigue, the joy, the tears, the laughter, the energy could be silenced. All those lives. All that potential. All that goodness. All that love. I had never experienced the loss of people so real, so close, so alive. The thick void, the vast silence in the world where only hours earlier plans and life abounded oppressed my heart. Shouldn’t the world stop? My heart broke imagining how others who knew and loved them intimately must suffer.
Yet this extreme bitterness is intertwined with the sweetness and goodness of their lives, what they have given us. Without doubt at some point the same day I learned of their deaths my four year old, Isaac, went flying past me in the Super “I” cape Barbara made for his third birthday. It is a bright satiny orange/pink with a bold satin “I” in purple with two big stars appliqued on the back. He has a padded eye mask with sequins to match. It is by far one of the most used, most loved, most perfect toys we own. It makes daily nonstop flights to the ends of the world (sometimes the galaxy) conquering darkness and supporting all causes of justice. Sometimes it belongs to a king, sometimes it is a banner of freedom, sometimes it’s worn over Batman pajamas with underwear on the outside. Peter, our second son who is nearly two, dons it as soon as Isaac is at school or occupied with something else. It is a family institution. Within a week of their deaths week I know we ate the black beans that Scott and Barbara first fed us and taught me to make. They had learned to make them in Central America and I swooned over them (beans, onion, garlic, oil and salt) at their home in Maputo. Barbara made me my own pile of them with cheese, homemade salsa, guacamole and chips at the farewell some friends threw me last November as we got ready to return to the States from Mozambique.
These are two tangible things that have become part of our daily lives. Two of many. I would like to share some of the other memories and images that have changed who I am.
- Barbara giving me the courage to go to Mozambique with a 3 month old baby.
- Meeting us at the airport with Noah on her back. Being one of two white women who tied their babies to their back. Teaching me how so that now there were three white women with babies tied to their backs.
- Knowing Portuguese. It was never a question for me if I would learn Portuguese, even if I would never use it again.
- Her incredible intelligence and focus.
- Her commitment to parenting and nurturing children, all children.
- One time we were talking about going back to school and she could not imagine anything more important than her commitment to mothering.
- When she couldn’t find a school for Zoe, she began her own which was really quite a wonderland. Everything was carefully laid out, the activities were so neat, children adored her.
- How I organize my children’s toys influenced by her: more accessible, more engaging.
- Her birthday parties were also so neat. Zoe’s safari birthday with stuffed animals and safari hats, binoculars to boot.
- How she treated Teresa, Sophia. Find our empregadas who became family, sisters, mothers to our children.
- Sophia’s daughter’s lunch bag.
- Diving into the pool when Isaac was spluttering.
- Isaac remembers Dudley, Zoe’s horn, the canico house they built for their children.
- I remember Zoe’s hair.
- I remember Noah’s contentment, the deep love Teresa had for him.
- Setting up a tent inside of the straw hut at Mlilwane as Barbara hated lizards.
I have thought many times since their deaths that Scott and Barbara lived more in their lives than most people live in a century. They believed in their ability to change the world, to make it a better place, to live in such a way as to hurt little and bless much. It is this goodness that which changes me and continues to change the world. Reflecting in the time that has passed since their deaths I have come to understand even more powerfully that in the end it is only what we give, what we do, what we love that remains. It is not us, but the lives we live that remain when we have gone. In this sense Barbara and Scott and Zoe and Noah will remain with us our entire lives.
Each time that Isaac flies past me trailing his glorious super “I” cape or each time I open myself to another person or culture without fear, hoping to understand who they are on their own terms, I will remember them with deep love and gratitude. They were extraordinary. Thank you for sharing them with us.
Quero ser tambor
Read by Steven K. Smith
Former Associate Director, LTC
Tambor está velho de gritar
ó velho Deus dos homens
deixa-me ser tambor
corpo e alma só tambor
só tambor gritando na noite quente dos trópicos.
E nem flor nascida no mato do desespero.
Nem rio correndo para o mar do desespero.
Nem zagaia temperada no lume vivo do desespero.
Nem mesmo poesia forjada na dor rubra do desespero.
Só tambor velho de gritar na lua cheia da minha terra.
Só tambor de pele curtida ao sol da minha terra.
Só tambor cavado nos troncos duros da minha terra!
Só tambor rebentando o silêncio amargo da Mafalala.
Só tambor velho de sangrar no batuque do meu povo.
Só tambor perdido na escuridão da noite perdida.
Ó velho Deus dos homens
eu quero ser tambor
e nem rio
e nem flor
e nem zagaia por enquanto
e nem mesmo poesia.
Só tambor ecoando a canção da força e da vida
só tambor noite e dia
dia e noite só tambor
até à consumação da grande festa do batuque!
Oh, velho Deus dos homens
deixa-me ser tambor
I Want to be a Drum
Read by Patty Grubb
Program Assistant, LTC Mozambique Project
Drum is all worn from shouting
Oh ancient God of mankind
let me be a drum
body and soul just a drum
just a drum shouting in the hot tropical night.
Not a flower born in the forest of despair
Not a river flowing to the sea of despair
Not a lance tempered in the hot flame of despair
Not even a poem forged in the searing pain of despair.
Nothing like that!
Just a drum worn from shouting in the full moon of my land
Just a drum of skin cured in the sun of my land
Just a drum carved from the solid tree trunks of my land
Just a drum splitting the bitter silence of Mafalala
Just a drum worn from sitting in on the jam sessions of my land
Just a drum lost in the darkness of the lost night.
Oh ancient God of mankind
I want to be a drum
not a river
not a flower
not a lance for just now
and not even a poem.
Only a drum echoing like the song of strength and life
Only a drum night and day
day and night only a drum
until the final great jam session!
Oh ancient God of mankind
let me be a drum
just a drum!
Translated by Mary L. Daniel
Eulogy for Scott Kloeck-Jenson
Delivered by Crawford Young
Professor, Department of Political Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison
I was looking forward to January, when Scott Kloeck-Jenson would step back into my office one wintry day. But such is not to be. I was looking forward to January, when I would begin to gain a deeper grasp of Mozambique from extended conversation and dissertation drafts from Scott. But this will not happen. I was looking forward to January, when we would again have Scott as an active and valued participant in various ongoing colloquia within our Department-but that shall not come to pass.
Instead we walk among memories. I seem to brush up against Scott almost every day. I open my file to K, looking for someone else's dossier, and there he is. I check my gradebook for another record, and the A entered beside his name recalls his intellectual excellence. I rummage through some old bibliographies, and stumble across one prepared by Scott for a group of us. Memories, then. Wonderful memories. A young scholar absolutely devoid of the besetting academic sin of arrogance. A student of Africa whose academic labor drew its essential meaning from a commitment to service, and to the Africans amongst whom he lived, worked, and studies in Lesotho and Mozambique. A future professor whose intellectual growth was a joy to behold.
In his tragically foreshortened life he had accomplished already much - a mere glimpse of the brilliant career of service and achievement which the inexplicable perversity of fate cut short. His memory remains an inspiration.
Eulogy for Scott, Barbara, Zoe and Noah Kloeck-Jenson
Delivered by Michael G. Schatzberg
Professor, Department of Political Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison
I was Scott's major professor and dissertation advisor. Scott was smart man; a fine scholar who tragically never had the chance to realize his potential. He was, without question in my mind, one of the most knowledgeable scholars of Mozambican politics around. He had developed an expertise and a "feel" for the politics on Mozambique that was truly remarkable.
If we are lucky, we all are born with the standard five senses. Scholars need four other senses to thrive in their chosen path. Scott had these. First, a sense of humor. He was not reluctant to gently tweak those in authority. Second, a sense of challenge. When Scott returned initially from the field he gingerly informed me that he was not going to write a dissertation about politics in Mozambique. Instead, he was going to write about NGOs, using Mozambique as a case study. "No problem," I said, "but I want you to write a dissertation about changing notions of internal and external sovereignty, using the NGOs in Mozambique as illustrations."
He smiled, and said "You're seeing me and raising me aren't you?" He saw the challenge, and responded positively.
Third, a sense of self and solitude. No, Scott wasn't alone in his scholarly adventure. Barb was a smart, interested, and loving companion. Zoe and Noah added richness to the fabric of his life and work. But ultimately when scholars wrestle with ideas, search for the solutions to problems-although we can share our thoughts with colleagues, companions, and family members-in the final analysis we still have to do most of the hard slogging on our own, keeping our own company and counsel even when we are surrounded by others. Scott had a strong sense of self and could thus handle the intellectual solitude of his chosen life.
Finally, scholars need, and Scott had, a sense of joy. Joy in his family, of course, joy in the new and creative ideas he was thinking of, and, importantly in Scott's case, joy in the hope that some day his ideas, knowledge, and insight might help the people of Mozambique achieve a better life.
Our lives were richer for having known Scott, and Barb, and Zoe, and Noah.
Doing Good in the World
Delivered by Kathleen Mulligan-Hansel
Scott and I became friends during our first year in graduate school, when we were lucky to be part of a wonderful and tightknit intellectual and personal community. In the months since Scott, Barbara, Zoe and Noah died many of us who knew them and were close to them have discussed our memories of the time we shared, the things about Scott and Barb that we loved, the hopes and expectations we had for their lives, for Scott’s career, for their children. My comments today are deeply personal, but they come out of these shared reflections and in many ways represent the way many of us have attempted to come to grips with this tragic loss.
I feel very fortunate that Scott and I entered graduate school at the same time. We had many classes together and were part of a small cohort focusing on Africa. For these reasons, and because graduate school is enormously challenging, I think I developed a very quick and very important friendship with Scott. My friendship with Scott was a friendship of the mind – we shared deeply personal and intimate knowledge of each others’ ways of thinking. Scott and Barbara and I had many friends in common and we were part of each others’ support network as well. I came to know that Scott and Barbara were deeply kind and generous people. There are hundreds of stories of the kindness they bestowed on those of us who knew them, none of which really gets to the heart of who they were. I remember how many times Scott or Barbara would give me a ride someplace when I had no car, the times Scott would come to school early to give me comments on papers we had written or to meet and talk about our progress in studying for our preliminary exams. I remember Barbara’s deep commitment to animal welfare, how she would cry when deer-hunting season started. I remember that she loved marching bands, how frustrated she was in her first year here when she worked as a substitute teacher and often longed for more permanent work that she could really throw herself into. I remember bringing Scott and Barbara a plant when visiting them in the hospital after Zoe’s birth, joking that the plant’s process of maturity would parallel Zoe’s. I remember meeting with Scott last summer and sharing stories of our lives in Africa. How I wish now that I had urged him to come back and finish graduate school with me. Out of these tiny bits of memory speak several truths about Scott and Barbara, truths about the wonderful, compassionate and generous and kind people they were.
Scott was incredibly intelligent. A very careful, deliberate, thoughtful kind of scholar and all of us who took classes with him benefited from his insight and perspective. Several of us in the early years regularly formed study groups which met outside of class – the groups were key to our getting through the program and Scott was a regular participant. The terrain of our friendship was intellectual, but the way we all came to know each others’ way of thinking was also deeply personal. I used to tease Scott for using the word “notion” so often, and for the particular expression he would make when he was deep in thought. After a particularly intense class, I would tell him I could see he was giving birth to an idea. I loved Scott’s careful and systematic deliberations. At times, even now, I find myself wondering how he would approach a particular topic or text, looking for insights I might have missed with my own analytical approach. I have often thought in the past few months how tragic it is that his dissertation will never be written. It seems ridiculous, perhaps, to focus on the writing in the face of such an enormous and deeply personal loss, but for me it is one of those palpable markers of loss. That all the ideas and insights that Scott worked to hone and develop during the years we knew each other have been irrevocably lost. The morning before I found out about the accident, I found myself thinking about how much Scott’s and my work came together by the time we were writing. I found myself looking forward to his return to Madison and a time when we would once again share our ideas and the convictions that came along with them. I know that my longing for his dissertation is a longing for something concrete, some representation of the part of Scott I knew so well and the part that I miss so terribly.
Scott was not just a thinker, he was a very compassionate person, very dedicated to friendship and this showed not only in the kind of work he did, but in the way he related to the rest of us in the program. I feel lucky to have known him in this context, not only because his personal gifts enabled me to get through some difficult times and to meet the challenges of graduate school and because the challenges we faced enabled me to get to know him so much more thoroughly than I might have otherwise.
One of the things that all of us loved and appreciated about both Scott and Barbara is that they were so much fun. Scott had a wonderful sense of humor. He could be very silly at times. He had a wonderful sense of irony and wit. It was evident in his relationship with Barbara, and certainly in both of their approaches to parenting, that they exuded a sense of joy and love of life that was infectious.
One of the things that I have felt the most pained by since their death is the extent to which Scott and Barbara were committed to doing good in the world. Anyone who knew them understood that they had a strong commitment to service and community-building. I admired both of them for their commitment to making a better world for themselves and their children and for others. This commitment was evident in Scott’s choice of research and in the kind of work they both did in Mozambique. Certainly it was clear in the way they were with their children. It was an important part of my bond with Scott that we shared a concern for inequality and the world’s dispossessed. I have often felt in the last few months that much of my grief over the loss of these wonderful friends has also been a larger kind of grief for the world that we live in, because we don’t have Scott and Barbara continuing their own work here. Scott and Barbara were deeply good people and I am so sad that we and the world have lost them.
Yet I have been comforted by another part of Scott and Barbara’s way of living: they lived the way they wanted to. I know, for example, that it was not always easy to have a family while Scott was still in school. When Zoe was born Scott had to make difficult decisions about his scholarly schedule. But it was important to Scott and Barb to have a family, so they found a way to carry on with the work they both wanted to do, while also having children. It was clear that the energy Scott gave to parenting was returned to him a hundredfold. Similarly, they loved living in Mozambique and wanted to be there. They were so deeply committed to the life they had chosen for themselves, I believe that neither of them had regrets about the choices they had made and I have found that comforting.
Like all of us, I have tried to make sense of this loss and have failed. There is no explanation for such a tragedy and it seems almost profane to suggest there might be. Any insight I have had about my life and my choices since their deaths I would gladly give back, gladly learn in a different way or not at all, just to have them in our world again. I did not keep in close touch with Scott while he was in Mozambique, but we both believed we would always be in each others’ lives and always be a part of the others’ work. When he was here last summer we had dinner and talked for hours and it was as if neither of us had ever left. I had planned to have that same reunion a hundred times over the course of the next 50 years. All I can say is that I feel so very privileged to have known Scott and Barbara, to have had even the glimpse of the people their children were becoming.
Eulogy for the Kloeck-Jenson Family
Delivered by Mary K. Rouse
Dean of Students
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Good afternoon families, friends, faculty and staff! This morning, 25 students - primarily undergraduates-freshmen - two coaches of the Men's crew team plus another staff member from the boathouse left to attend the memorial service in Illinois for a new freshman and walk on member of the team who died suddenly at his home this past Sunday from apparent heart failure. Death indeed comes without warning and takes no notice of age or potential. This afternoon, it is the sudden and unexpected death of an entire family at the beginning of this past summer that brings us together here.
Today a few months after this tragedy, we are at a different stage in the grieving process than the family and friends in Illinois. We are remembering and publicly celebrating the four lives of our UW-Madison student family struck down by a car accident. Let me acknowledge each member of this wonderful family-Noah, Zoe, Barbara and Scott-and say that we wish they were here in their mortal bodies but knowing full well that they are here right in this very beautiful garden in spirit.
As the dean of students, I meet and associate with hundreds of students every year. Some of them become my lifelong friends. I am privileged to serve in this position where I have the opportunity to see the education, talent and experience they bring upon their matriculation here and to observe the depth and breadth of their contributions to our University community, as well as communities around the world. Such was clearly the case with this young family. They had already taken membership in what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the "world house" in the last book he wrote in 1967 called Where Do We Go from Here? Chaos or Community.
The Kloeck-Jenson Family was in one room of his world house called Mozambique. It was there they lived and worked, laughed, cried and loved. They passed away in another room of the house called South Africa. They were making friendships, completing academic work and offering service to the people and culture there, as well as becoming more culturally fluent as a whole family.
I did not personally know the Kloeck-Jenson Family. I am truly sorry to not have made their acquaintance because I have heard so many positive comments from so many people, including residents of our family housing in Eagle Heights. With education, dedication and commitment, they were making a difference in the lives of individuals, as well as striving to change policies and systems to improve the lives of large numbers of citizens in Mozambique. They had many friends and admirers. And I myself am now among them.
As I held my own beautiful granddaughters in my arms-8 months old and 23 months old this past Tuesday night, I could not even contemplate the enormity of this loss for both the Kloeck and the Jenson parents and other family members. I reminded myself that the older I get, the less well I understand the many hills and valleys in this life. I am working toward increasing my understanding and acceptance of life's unpredictable twists and turns. Some people think that I must be very powerful and have lots of control over lots of matters because I am a Dean.
Of late, I have decided that the only control I really have is over my dining room table. I can set a nice table, fix a decent meal, add a few flowers, light a candle and enjoy my family and friends. As a campus leader, I have no power or control whatsoever over student deaths. I can only assist and work as a team member with others when death occurs. Some of us like me are speaking this afternoon; others are in attendance. Let me acknowledge how important teamwork is because it is woven into our campus "culture." When we talk about 'culture' all too often we think about race and ethnicity. For me, one of the most important responsibilities of our University is to transmit and preserve our 'culture,' as it were-new and old knowledge, traditions, civility and respect. Today we meet here to not only celebrate lives but to carry on what a University is all about.
Together with the Kloeck-Jenson families, we are handling death with as much sensitivity and care and time as the celebration of the birth of a baby. We need to not have one or two services for this family and then simply move on with the other parts of our lives. We must continue always to tell stories about these beloved people, establish memorials and rely heavily on favorite pictures. We must continue to study their lives however long or short they were and see what they were teaching us when they walked among us on earth. We must carry on where they left off. Part of my ethnic cultural background is indeed Irish. We subscribe heavily to the belief that death is just a trick played on us which only works if we fail to remember those whom we love and respect. I am convinced that this wonderful young family full of love and promise will remain alive and we will never be tricked, providing we accept and assume this responsibility. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being here with us today.
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Last modified 6 December 2006.
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There is also additional information on the Scott
Kloeck-Jenson Fellowships and
Scott Kloeck-Jenson Fellowship Fund
-- both established in his honor -- available on the Global Studies