Richard Wirth Jensen passed from this life May 5, 2021, at the North Big Horn Hospital just three weeks prior to his 89th birthday.
Richard, known to many as Dick Jensen, was born in Byron, Wyoming, on May 31, 1932, during the Depression years.
He was born at home on the family farm on the Byron river bottom. He was the second son born to Maurice W. Jensen and Erma S. Wirth, after his older brother, Waldo Jensen. Two sisters later joined the family, Charlene (Scholes) Jensen and Erma Lou Jensen.
Dick spent his early years on the farm playing with his brother, raising animals, hoeing the rows of crops, riding horses, and exploring the river bottom. He loved the out of doors and was rough and tumble, and a tease. He kept things interesting.
The family later moved to town where Dick attended school and was involved in sports. He played basketball and football. As a freshman he was small and skinny and worried he would never grow. He could overlap his basketball shorts across himself and pin them. To his delight the next two years he grew tall and broad and became an athlete. He played high school football and basketball, basketball at Northwest Community College, and was on men’s town teams for many years.
When the Korean conflict started, like many others in the area, Dick and Wally volunteered for the Army rather than wait for the draft. Dick became a specialist in water purification and taught the other soldiers this skill as part of their training. He was an excellent marksman and was invited to be trained as a sniper. He chose not to follow that path. Instead, he married Myrna McArthur of Lovell and left the military when the conflict ended.
The little family moved to Salt Lake City where Dick was a security guard at the church office building and attended barber school. Their first child, Jan, was born while living in Salt Lake. With this training, they moved to Laramie to attend the University of Wyoming. He barbered to support his family while in college, as well as being an early morning milk delivery man. Two daughters, Sue and Kaye, joined the family in Laramie.
After Dick graduated, the family moved to Ten Sleep, Wyoming, where Dick became the Vo-ag and shop teacher.
Dick did all things with enthusiasm and loved a good prank and joke. Many longtime friends and fond memories came from the years in Ten Sleep as well as their first son, Heber, joining the family.
In the early 1960s, a job opened up in the Byron School system. Dick and family made their final move to Byron where the last three children, Alma, Renee and Richard Mac, joined the family. It was here that he stayed for the remainder of his teaching career and rest of his life, except for a year at the University of Wyoming where he earned a master’s degree in animal science.
He taught welding, auto mechanics, drafting, woodworking, chemistry, FFA judging and animal science. Each summer his FFA students raised champion entries at the fair. He took great pride in helping select winning animals for his students. He also had students who were finalists in the National Lincoln Arc Welding competition.
Dick had many interests and hobbies. He loved the out of doors, horses, hunting, fishing and camping. He shared this love of the outdoors with his own father and they were very close. He was a champion storyteller around the campfire. He hunted and camped with his family and extended family.
He always had a few animals and at least a hundred chickens that had to be butchered each year to the dismay of his children. He grew a large garden and taught his children these skills. He ventured into the cattle business and loved his horse, Big Horn Barney.
Dick was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as a temple worker, stake missionary, bishop, seminary teacher, high councilman and was a devout member. He often spoke at meetings. He had a resounding and clear voice and spoke with conviction, often using stories from his own life. He did a local, church-sponsored radio program for a time.
This gift was taken at the age of 74 when he had a global CVA stroke. The remaining 16 years were difficult with limitations in speech and hearing. Many of his posterity did not know of his humor and wit. His daughter Renee was his caregiver for these 16 years, and for his wife Myrna, who preceded him in death in 2012. He was also preceded in death by grandsons Aaron Brinkerhoff, Richard, Reid and Rockwell Riley; his parents, Maurice and Erma Jensen; and his sisters, Charlene (Charles) Scholes and Erma Lou Jensen.
He is survived by his brother Waldo (Mary) Jensen and his seven children: Jan (Bart) Brinkerhoff of Powell; Sue (Don) Decker of Pearland, Texas; Kaye (Arley) George of Powell (Heart Mountain); Heber (Eileen) Jensen of Burlington; Alma (Phil) Christiansen of Williston, North Dakota; Renee Jensen of Byron; Richard Mac (Veronica) Jensen of Sweden; 32 grandchildren and 63 great-grandchildren.
A visitation will be held at Haskell’s Funeral Home in Lovell, Wyoming, on Friday, May 14, 2021, from 6 :30 – 7:30 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the Byron Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, May 15, at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at the Byron cemetery.