Jennifer Ford Paustenbaugh


Jennifer Ford Paustenbaugh died on November 23, 2019, in Spanish Fork, Utah following a more than eight year battle with breast cancer. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 4, 1962, to Elaine and Jonathan Ford.

She was a loving, wife, mother and grandmother. She loved traveling, and had visited all 50 states and more than 35 countries. Jennifer had a lifelong enthusiasm for learning about other people and cultures; she was fluent in five different languages, including Russian, Spanish, French and Bulgarian. She was an avid reader, and enjoyed discussing books with many members of her family and close friends. She was a member of several book groups, and was seemingly always reading multiple books at once. Jennifer was also active in Girl Scouts, serving as a local leader and President of Stillwater’s Morning Rotary Group; she was a Paul Harris Fellow.

After completing her K-12 schooling in Maryland, she earned four degrees at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; her B.A. in Political Science with a Certificate in Russian Area Studies in 1983, her M.L.S in 1986, her M.A. in East European Area Studies in 1993, and her Ph.D. in Information Science in 1999. In 1985 she met the love of her life, Richard Paustenbaugh, and they were married in 1986. Jennifer began her career in academic libraries at Indiana University where she became the assistant to the Dean of Libraries and began her long interest in assessment and fundraising. In 1990 they moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma, where they lived and worked for more than 20 years and raised their two children, Erik and Kirsten.

From 1990 to 1995, Jennifer served as Head of the Patent and Trademark Library at Oklahoma State University. In 1995 she began a new role as the Director of Library Development. In 2000 she was appointed as the Puterbaugh Foundation Professor of Library Service and Head of Special Collections and University Archives and held a concurrent appointment as the Executive Director of the Women’s Archives until 2013. In 2005 she was appointed as the Associate Dean of Libraries for Planning and Assessment, a position which she held until 2013. Jennifer also served the University in a variety of roles including twice chairing their Title IX Compliance Chair for their 10 year review from the NCAA. In 2013 she was appointed as the University Librarian of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, a position she held until her death.

She wrote numerous professional articles and in 2005 she co-authored with Dr. Robert Darcy the book, The Oklahoma Women’s Almanac. She was actively involved in the work of a variety of professional organizations in her field. She led numerous committees and task forces for the American Library Association over her years of involvement within its ranks. She was also heavily involved with the Association of Research Libraries serving in a variety of capacities including as a member of their board of directors. Her contributions within The Great Western Library Alliance were also recognized as she was invited to lead several committees and was eventually elected to their board of directors and then elected as their chair in 2018. Throughout her career she was passionate about helping women and in 2003 was appointed by Governor Brad Henry to serve on the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. She served as the Commission Chair for 2006-2007. In 2015 she was inducted into the Brigham Young University Chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

As a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she served diligently in a variety of callings at the Ward and Stake level. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies in 1983 she served an 18-month church mission in both Quito, Ecuador and San Jose, California. She always enjoyed working with the children and youth of the Church.

Jennifer is survived by her husband, Rich, of 33 years, her son, Erik, his wife Kelsey, and their son Weston, and her daughter, Kirsten; her father, Jonathan; her brother Jonathan Jr, his wife Dawn and their children Brittany and Jonathan William and his wife Catherine and their son Samuel; and, her sister Susannah Dillender and her husband Michael and their children Michael and Mary Ruth; She was preceded in death by her mother Elaine Thompson Ford.

Her funeral service will be held December 2, 2019 at 10:30 am at the Canyon Ridge Stake Center, 1911 E. 1850 S, Spanish Fork, UT. Interment will follow at the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.

Funeral Directors: Utah Valley Mortuary. Condolences may be expressed to the family at

In lieu of flowers the family has requested contributions be made either to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Huntsman Cancer Foundation, 500 Huntsman Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108-1235, or to the Jennifer Paustenbaugh Inspiring Learning Endowment at the Brigham Young University Library: