John Jorgen Jensen 1926 - 2020

John Jorgen Jensen, age 93, of Mesa, Arizona, passed away Saturday, June 6, 2020.  John was born October 21, 1926, in Geddes, South Dakota. 

At the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Navy Airforce Fleet Air Wing Six.  He met Kathryn Mae Wilcox at a USO dance. She became the love of his life. They were married on June 25, 1946, in McMinnville, Oregon. He left the Navy and drilled water wells with his father-in-law, John Wilcox. He later went to work for the Bureau of Public Roads, doing core drilling and horizontal drains for road slides.  In 1966, he formed the Jensen Drilling Company.  The company drilled all over the U.S. and Chile, doing dewatering for buildings and dams, grouting for dams and horizontal drains for slides.  

John and Kitty had four children in McMinnville. They later moved to Arizona and then back to Eugene, Oregon.  John retired at 50; he and Kitty moved to Mesa in 1976 and loved to play golf.  He played golf with the Wild Bunch and some of the Phoenix Suns.  He was chosen Golfer of the Year in 1989. He played golf until he was 90, and had to quit after having hip surgery.  He sat around for two weeks and told himself he needed to get back to golfing to have a good life.  He invented the JJ Tee Up, a golf tool that puts the ball and the tee into the ground without bending over. So back on the course he went until he was 92.  He was a Mason and a Shriner.  He loved people, sharing stories and jokes.  He would not leave a store or restaurant without telling a joke and everyone there laughing as he left. They also spent many years during the summers catching salmon at Winchester Bay.

John was preceded in death by his wife, Kitty (Kathryn); his half-brothers and half-sisters; and his three brothers.

John is survived by his sister, Margaret Wilcox of McMinnville; sister-in-law, Jonilyn Wells of Cloverdale, Oregon; his four children, Cheryl Rattenborg and husband Ron of Springfield, John Jensen and wife Connie of Prineville, Oregon, Jerry Jensen and wife Carolyn of Marcola, Oregon, and Jeff Jensen and his wife Kathy of Louisville, Tennessee; eight grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and 12 great-great-grandchildren.

He will be laid to rest at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Eugene.

Instead of flowers, donations to the Shriners Hospital would be appreciated.





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