James Carl Jensen was born on February 20, 1947, to Raymond and Hazel (Hansen) Jensen. He was raised on the farm and attended school in Tyler, Minnesota where he graduated from Tyler Public High School 1965. During his childhood, he was a member of the 4-H Club and enjoyed working with his family’s square dancing horses. Throughout his high school career, he was very passionate about sports including football, basketball, and baseball. He even went on to play collegiate football at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota prior to returning to assist on the family farm. He was a great dancer, and was a member of the theater group during his college years as well. Jim was drafted into the United States Army on September 24, 1969, and went on to serve in Vietnam. Jim was united in marriage to Joyce Drake on September 5, 1970, in Tyler. He furthered his education by studying masonry construction at the Pipestone Vocational School and earned his degree in 1973. Jim started his own business, Jensen Masonry Construction, which he operated for over 40 years prior to his retirement in 2012. In addition to his career, it brought Jim great joy to brick his daughters’ homes. Jim took great pride in his work and attention to detail. On Friday, January 3, 2020, Jim passed away at the Tyler Healthcare Center at the age of 72 years, 10 months, and 14 days.
Jim and Joyce were looking forward to celebrating their 50-year anniversary in nine months. His family was very important to him and he truly adored his grandchildren. Some of his favorite memories were made on family vacations and playing cribbage at family holidays. Jim also valued his family history and kept family memories alive by sharing stories. Jim’s love of sports continued into adulthood, in addition to watching the Discovery Channel, he spent many hours watching and supporting all Minnesota sports teams. He appreciated the outdoors and could often be found gardening, maple sapping, fishing, or hunting. Jim was a talented card player and also enjoyed working on sudoku puzzles. His family will always remember his ability to teach those around him, his solid handshake, and his love of pistachios and ice cream.
Jim and Joyce were members of Danebod Lutheran Church in Tyler. Jim was proud to have been able to use his talents of bricklaying on the Danebod Church sign, Danebod Cemetery entrances, and several area community and church projects. Jim’s mission trip to New Orleans to help with hurricane relief was a very impactful event in his life. Jim was active on bowling and golf leagues, as well as organizing, sponsoring, and playing on the “Tyler Fast Pitch Team” in the early 1980’s. Jim was a member and past president of the Lions Club. He was also a member of the New Vista Housing Board since its origination in 1976. He served on the Tyler Lumber Board, Danebod Village Board, Danebod Folk School Board, and the Danebod Cemetery Board.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce of Tyler; daughters, Stephanie (Joel) Lorsung of Pine City, Minnesota, Karie (Steve) Rutz of Mankato, Minnesota, and Karissa (Matthew) Winter of Cleveland, Minnesota; eight grandchildren, Hannah Marie Lorsung, Alison Cassandra Rutz, Katelyn Marie Lorsung, Leia Korine Rutz, Jocelyn Marie Lorsung, Emmett James Rutz, Gwendolyn Rae Winter, Kasyn Rae Winter; sister, Susan (Michael) Thompson of Bagley, Minnesota; siblings-in-law, Clair (Deanna) Drake, Noreen (Ken) Grunig, and Debbie (Gunnar) Toussaint; nieces and nephews, Darice (Jason) Nielsen, Chad (Renae) Drake, Daynica (Patrick) Brown, Cade (Amanda) Drake, Megan (Bill) Reynolds, Mitchell (Brittany) Grunig, Mackenze (Meredith) Grunig, Zachary Toussaint, Klae (Kristi) Thompson, Kole (Yumiko) Thompson, Kelsie Thompson, and Kase (Tonya) Thomspon, and great-nieces and nephews, Ashlyn and William Henry III Reynolds, Kamryn, Kiptyn, and Kaliana Thompson, Jayce, Zachary, Shane, and Kaley Thompson, Jaden and Nichole Chesley, and Lexi, Kira, and Domanick Thompson. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister-in-law, Betty Drake.
Memorials are preferred to Danebod Cemetery where Jim was an active board member and the current grounds keeper.