Robert Eugene Jenson

Died: Sat., Jan. 6, 2018

Memorial Service

1:00 PM Sat., Jan. 13, 2018
Location: Peace Lutheran Church

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Robert (Bob) Eugene Jenson was born May 11, 1931 in Omaha, Nebraska to Charles and Oral Jenson. He passed away peacefully on January 6, 2018 surrounded by family at his home in Pendleton.

Bob grew up on ranches as his parents moved throughout the Dakotas and Montana. In 1950, Bob married Betty Pegg and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving four years. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. After attending Montana State University in 1954 and later moving to Helena, he became a small business owner. He continued studies at Montana State completing his Master’s degree in Sociology/U.S. History in 1967.

In the fall of 1967, Bob accepted a position at Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) teaching sociology and U.S. history. He married Evelyn Bruns on November 12, 1971. During his tenure at Blue Mountain he served as a Delegate to the White House Conference on Families (1980), was an Eastern Oregon Regional Airport Commissioner (1988-96), and a member of the Pendleton Transportation Plan Advisory Committee (1995-96). He retired from BMCC in 1993.

In 1996, Bob was elected to the Oregon Legislature House of Representatives. He chaired and served on nine major committees during his 18 years of service, committing his energies and expertise to constituents of Eastern Oregon and to priority issues concerning education, senior services, mental health, water resources and agriculture.

Bob was a member of the Peace Lutheran Church, the church council and Gideon’s International. He was a Life Master Bridge Player. He adored his grandchildren and great grandchildren and the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers that were always at his side. In retirement, he enjoyed their cabin at Lostine, reading (especially U.S. history), fishing, and watching sports.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents and cherished grandson, Joshua Jenson. He is survived by his beloved wife Evelyn Jenson (Pendleton); four children (all of Pendleton), Robert and Delores Jenson, Linda and Victor Gehling, Charles and Patti Jenson, Carol and Jim Aldrich; 11 grandchildren, Kirk Jenson, Kris Jenson, Charles Cook, Crystal Burton, Douglas Aldrich, Jamie Thompson, Jody Deardorff, Jessica Mulvihill, David Aldrich, Annie McBee, and Michael McBee; and 13 great grandchildren.

On Saturday, January 13th, a private family graveside service with military honors will be observed at Olney Cemetery. A public Memorial Service will be held at the Peace Lutheran Church at 1:00.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Peace Lutheran Church, Gideon’s International, or Friends of Olney Cemetery.

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Condolence Booklet

   Posted Mon January 08, 2018
Bob's incredible career will influence Oregon' political environment forever. He set the bar so very high. We miss his steady hand and thoughtful influence. My prayers go to Evelyn and all his children in this time of sorrow.

Brigit Farley
   Posted Tue January 09, 2018
Bob Jenson was an avid student of politics who became a practitioner of that art after many years on the sidelines at BMCC. I enjoyed talking politics with him at the RAC, about the ups and downs of trying to do the people's business, the possibilities and limitations of politics, and the challenges of being a Democrat in a heavily Republican area. I think he was slightly bemused at having succeeded in "entering the arena" after having taught about it for so many years. I salute him for being willing to walk the talk and becoming a respected and well-liked representative of this area. We need more Bob Jensons in politics. Rest in peace.

Hero and Barbara Heeren
   Posted Tue January 09, 2018
Thinking of all of you

Elden Alexander
   Posted Tue January 09, 2018
Thank you for your service Representative Jenson. Prayers for the Jenson family. Rest In Peace Sir.

Connie Betts
   Posted Wed January 10, 2018
Evelyn, so many memories of you and Bob. His kindness, patience, comfort, encouragement, smile will always be remembered. God bless you and the children.

   Posted Wed January 10, 2018
My class under his direction was a highlight of my BMCC classes, though the exam was a great challenge for which I only earned a B. Yes, he made one earn their grade.

I always voted for him re. our legislature, he instilled confidence.

Bruce Campbell
   Posted Wed January 10, 2018
Many fond memories are unfolded. They include the discussions with Bob and Evelyn when they were first considering a possible run for the State Representative position. I. Also recall the enthusiasm with which the local supporters displayed in supporting Bob. Bob was truly a Democrat in his values, but was able to demonstrate bipartisanship in his actions!
He served our District well. Hopefully his legacy can be preserved by others occupying the position!

Viki Desler
   Posted Wed January 10, 2018
Dearest Evelyn and the rest of the family:

My deepest sympathy. You and Bob were a huge part of my life as a neighbor and friend. My children pretty much grew up with your grandchildren and there are so many memories of playtime together. Knowing your family is something that I cherish. Bob's community service hours, days, months, and years amaze me. He was always a kind, thoughtful and a happy man. Enjoying life and all that comes with that. Living to the fullest. My nephew, Eric, adores him. Bob always remembered him and always called him by name and shook his hand. I get misty thinking about all the memories.

I will be unable to attend the services as I will be out of town. I want you to know how much you and the rest of the family are in my thoughts and prayers always.

As usual, I just may run into one of you in the store!

Love and hugs to all.

Viki Desler (and kids)

Roger & Gail Wilson
   Posted Wed January 10, 2018
Evelyn & family,
Roger and I send our heartfelt love and prayers for you all. We were proud to call Bob a friend and greatly enjoyed our talks with him. May He keep you close in His loving arms and watch over you always. Prayers, Gail Wilson

Alfred Janssen
   Posted Wed January 10, 2018
Dear Evelyn,

We heard the sad news of Bob's passing from Johann Bruns.
Loosing a marriage partner after all these years is very difficult and sad.

Elly and I wish to express our sincere condolences to you and your family.
Praying that God will comfort you and give you peace during this difficult time.

Alfred (cousin in BC Canada) and Elly Janssen

Susan Morgan
   Posted Thu January 11, 2018
I will forever cherish the years I spent with Bob and you in the Oregon Legislature, working natural resource issues and having our desks next to each other on the House floor. More than once we shared a single malt, worked through our differences and solved a lot of problems.

My thoughts and my prayers are with you and your family.

Brendan McCarthy
   Posted Thu January 11, 2018
I was terribly saddened to hear of Bob's passing. He was, and always will be, one of my most favorite legislators both to work for in the time that I worked in the Capitol as staff, and to talk with once I moved into the lobby world. I will always appreciate the kindness that he showed me when I was only a junior staffer, and of course I miss the statesmanship that he brought to the building.

Susan Hunter
   Posted Fri January 12, 2018
Bob was my advisor at BMCC and Sociology teacher in 1968-1969. His vision for me to have a wider life than what I thought was possible changed me for the better. He helped me get a scholarship to Montana State University for a BS degree and a graduate assistantship at PSU for a MS. There were days when no student loans were available and I was working jobs to pay for my education and my parents were helping, too. I went on to be a leader of nonprofits for 35 years helping women escape prostitution, funding K-12 education, and building a bigger university for natural medicine -- truly, it all started because Bob believed in me when I was 19, met with me so many times at BMCC and kept energetically encouraging me not to give up on myself.... I never forgot [and never will] how supportive and imaginative he was and how many hours we discussed what might be in my future. I was humbled by the time he so freely gave me because I knew he had children of his own, but I would not have had the wonderful life of service to others that I have had without his deep belief in me. In later years, we met once and emailed a couple of times and I even gave back to his campaign as a way of expressing my gratitude. But truly, what ever could one give back for this kind of life-changing gift? His life as an academic was a beacon of hope for me and no surprise that he went on to lead in the political arena. I know I am not the only BMCC student to have been so lovingly mentored by him. May we --as a community-- spend our lives remembering to praise his work and share with each other our deep gratitude for his life, his intelligence, his humor, and devoted work! Let us remember him and continue to mentor and encourage others!

Clark Hilden
   Posted Fri January 12, 2018
I learned with great sadness of Bob's passing. He was a colleague, a mentor and a friend. Bob hired me in 1969 to teach geography and anthropology at BMCC and helped me through those very difficult first years. In addition, Bob flew me all over Oregon to enable me to take aerial pictures for my classes. I used these images throughout my teaching career and they added materially to my lectures. Several even appear in the latest edition of the geography of Oregon textbook that my colleague Linc DeBunce and I recently completed. I will miss Bob but am richer for having known him.

Image: Suat Eman /

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