A lifelong resident of Hood River Valley, Wesley David “Dave” Jensen, passed away at home in the early hours of Aug. 3, two days shy of his 91st birthday. He was born in Hood River on Aug. 5, 1928, to Luhr and Clarice (Davenport) Jensen as the fourth of five children. He was preceded in death by his parents and three older siblings, Charlene, Luhr Jr. and Miriam, and is survived by his brother Philip “Phil,” seven children, 11 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. One child, Jan Engler, and one grandchild, Jenny Zorza, preceded him in death.
He married his high school sweetheart, Phyllis Lucille “Lucy” Sherrieb, on Feb. 1, 1948, and they were married until her passing in 1969. They had five children, Wesley, Julie (Cantrell), Bonnie (McCollister), Patti (Bethell) and Richard “Dick,”
In 1970, he married Emma Sue Samuel Engler and they combined families with her children, Jan, Kevin, and Judy Engler (Zorza). They were married for 42 years until Sue’s passing in 2012.
For more than 45 years, Dave, with his father and brothers, managed the operations of Luhr Jensen and Sons, Inc., a family-held business manufacturing fishing lures, headquartered in Hood River. In 1935, at the height of the Depression, his father, Luhr Jensen Sr., founded the company in the basement of their home on Sherman Street. Dave held leadership roles in the company until his retirement in 1992.
Known for his easygoing nature, reserved family manner and many outstanding contributions to his community, Dave has a lifelong list of service and charity activities to his credit and held leadership roles in many of them. From 1946-1952, after graduation from Hood River High School, Dave became a member of the Naval Reserve. He was a volunteer of the Mount Hood Ski Patrol, an officer and member of the Civil Air Patrol and Alpinees, participating in several rescues and searches. He was a member of Parent Teacher Associations at the various schools his children attended. As president of the Frankton PTA, he led a successful fundraising campaign to purchase the kitchen facilities for the school. In 1952, he joined the Hood River Rotary Club and had perfect attendance for more than 50 years, serving as president, board member, and chairman of several community service committees.
For 30 years, he served as a volunteer and board member of the West Side Volunteer Fire Department. He was also a member of the Hood River County Charter Committee, where he participated in stewardship of the county government. From 1958-59, he was chairman of the local chapter of the March of Dimes, led successful fundraising drives, and served on the national foundation board. He was instrumental in organizing the Hood River Yacht Club, and served in various leadership roles when the group established legislation of Oregon marine laws, which became a model for other states.
He was a director of the Hood River County Bank, which he helped form. He was a longstanding trustee of Riverside Church, where he led many community service activities. In 1961, he was honored with the Junior First Citizen Award by the Hood River Jaycees. Typical of his humble nature, upon receiving the award he said, “I would not thank the Jaycees for making this award to me, but for making of me a man capable of achieving such an honor.” He was a founding member of the club when it was chartered in 1952 and served in numerous leadership roles, including terms as president. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, before there were official Fourth of July fireworks in Hood River, Dave, along with Harold Franz, volunteered to put on the display for the community, starting at the drive-in theater and later at the port. In the 1980s, he served on the Hood River City Council.
He enjoyed road trips with family to explore and see new things. In 1968, he was proud to drive his family on a trip circumnavigating the country to expose his children to its rich history. The family enjoyed regular Jeep outings, skiing, and trips to Portland to see movies and explore the city. He liked to take a different route every time.
Dave had a lifelong passion for automobiles. From the purchase of his first automobile at age 14 and throughout his lifetime, he owned and collected more than 140 vehicles, many of them classics. He was a supporter and donor to the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River.
Dave had a reputation as a generous citizen that always stood behind his word and he treated everyone as family. His many achievements were done quietly and without the desire for recognition. He had many lifelong friends in Hood River, as well as in Palm Springs and Lake Havasu City, where he maintained winter homes. He was proud of living in a small community where he could receive letters from his father, Luhr Sr., addressed to “Good Old Dave, Hood River, Oregon.”
We will all miss you Dave, Bro, Dad, Gramps, Boo GG.
Phil and Judy Jensen
Wes and Ann Jensen
Colin Jensen and Jessica Lamb
Max, Lauren, and Sophie Jensen
Julie and Mike Cantrell
Jason, Misti, Hannah and Myca Cantrell
Maggie, Bret, Bridget, and Julia Aguirre
Bonnie and John McCollister
Jack, Wakana, Taiki, and Kiyomi McCollister
Patti and Guerry Bethell
Connor and Erin Dudley
Katie and Jack Fox
Katie, Adam, and Elizabeth Jacob
Gregory and Elizabeth Bethell
Judy and Dubber Zorza
Nick, Charissa, Kassidy Davidson, Kendall, and Kash Zorza
Monica Zorza, Matt, Maverick, and Maddex Hockett
Richard Jensen and Dennita Sewell
… and his faithful companion, Riley
Services are planned for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River. Memorials are encouraged to be made in memory of Dave to either Providence Hospice of the Gorge or Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Musem (WAAAM).
Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.