Blaine Gene Jensen
Blaine Gene Jensen slipped away from this life on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. He was born in Rigby, Idaho, to Walter “Walt” and Bessie Jensen on April 21, 1937.
The Jensen family farmed in Idaho until October 1951, when they moved to Quincy. Blaine graduated from Quincy High School in 1955 and then went to Washington State University for a year. He took a break from school and went to work in Alaska, where, among other things, he worked on the railroad. He also spent time in California with his sister Shirlene Chapman and her family as well as attending El Camino College.
In 1957 Blaine went back to attend WSU for several more years and then he tested for and was accepted into the Air Force Pilot Training Program. Dad scored a perfect 100 percent on his exam and was requested to apply to the U.S. Army Security Agency, but he ultimately chose the U.S. Air Force and was off to Mississippi and Georgia.
Blaine received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force in 1960. Dad had some fond, and not so fond, memories of his time in the program, but one thing he really held onto was the beauty of the South. He really enjoyed time off base experiencing the country and, in recent years, expressed interest in visiting again.
In 1961, Blaine married Kate Ker in Quincy. Blaine and Kate moved to Seattle for a short period of time and Blaine became a member of the Local Carpenters Union, where he worked on the World’s Fair. Blaine and Kate then moved back to Pullman to attend WSU and in 1965 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Blaine took a position with Standard Oil, first in Spokane and then in Seattle.
In 1967 Blaine and Kate moved back to Quincy, and Blaine helped build a cattle feedlot for his father-in-law Ed Ker. From that point on and for the remainder of his life, Blaine was a farmer. Blaine worked hard and eventually owned his own land and buildings where he grew, processed and sold onions, among other varieties of crops. We have so many memories of spending time and helping Dad farm “Section 1” and “Rudbergs.”
Dad’s engineering background was always with him, as he continually designed and modified equipment to suit his needs on the farm. Many times he could be found at the shop at Rudbergs cutting and welding metal to address a challenge he had come across. As it is with the farming community, Dad was often helping a friend with swathing, tractor work or the loan of a piece of equipment.
Blaine was an active member of the community through the Lions Club and The Moose. He enjoyed the friendships that came out of these and the events such as the annual exchanges with the Fork’s group and any time he was able to cook roasts in the portable cooker. We think more time was spent chatting than cooking but in the end the beef was always great.
We have many wonderful memories of Dad. He introduced us to farming, camping, hunting, fishing and annual family outings to the Coast. Some of our favorite memories include the many fun trips to Conconully, especially the snowmobiling adventures with the Wayne Gebers family.
The past few years were difficult on Blaine. After some health issues that resulted in his retirement from farming, “Poppa” remained mostly at home, where he looked forward to times when the grandkids would come and overrun the house. He was often quiet and to himself but one thing we know is his thoughts were always on the farm, thinking of how to do something different or new.
We take great comfort knowing Dad is at peace and picturing him with Ed Ker, enjoying a hearty steak dinner, cold beer and some laughs. His presence will be greatly missed.
Blaine was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Bessie Jensen and infant sister Norma LaDeen Jensen. He is survived by his wife Kate; his sisters Shirlene Chapman and RaNita (Wayne) Gebers; daughters Wendi (Dan) Elmenhurst and Darci (Keith) Kleyn; and son Chris (Jennifer) Jensen. Dad adored his 10 grandchildren, Katelyn, Camille, Joshua, AnnaMarie and Sean Elmenhurst, Samantha, Morgan and Mackenzie Kleyn, and Brayden and Colby Jensen. He especially loved providing a comfortable stomach on which his grandchildren would rest.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions be made to Quincy Valley Medical Center – Long Term Care. They provided excellent care and comfort to Blaine in his last few weeks. We are deeply grateful to them.
Please join the Jensen family for an open celebration of Blaine’s life on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, any time from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Quincy Moose Lodge.
Please leave a memory for the family or sign its online guestbook at www.scharbachs.com.
Scharbach’s Columbia Funeral Chapel in Quincy is assisting the family with arrangements.