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Dr. Ray E. Jensen, aged 92, passed away on Saturday, November 26, 2022, in Waco, Texas surrounded by his family. Ray was born on November 17, 1930, to Grant H. and Anna V. (Johnson) Jensen on his great uncle’s farm near Swan Lake, Turner County, South Dakota. He was an innovative scientist; an international traveler; a rancher; and an avid gardener. Ray was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and uncle.
Ray never forgot his academic beginnings at Walshtown and Lincoln Districts in Yankton County, South Dakota and finally as an Irene High School Cardinal, graduating in 1948. He continued to attend class reunions including his 70th reunion. He spent his youth working on the family farm until his enlistment in the United States Air Force shortly after high school graduation. He served with the European Occupational Forces in Germany following WWII, the Berlin Airlift, and during the Korean War. He was trained as a weather observer, shaping the course of his future career. After leaving the Air Force, Ray continued his educational studies. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from North Dakota State University, studied at Iowa State University, and then earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Physics from NDSU.
Ray was an agricultural meteorologist of international acclaim, being the recipient of multiple awards and medals for outstanding leadership throughout his illustrious career. He traveled around the world to share his knowledge, presenting numerous papers and invited presentations. Ray began his career with the National Weather Service as a weather forecaster in Fargo, North Dakota and was instrumental in saving countless lives during the 1957 Fargo F5 Tornado by providing a truly remarkable 1 hour and 3 minutes of advance warning to the citizens of Fargo. He continued to advance within the National Weather Service to progressively greater positions of responsibility, serving in 15 different geographical locations. Ray retired as the Regional Director, Southern Region Headquarters, Fort Worth, Texas in January 1986.
Ray married Margie Ann (Halsey) Jensen in 1955 in Springfield, South Dakota. They raised 4 children together.
In June 1986, Ray married Julie (Terrazas) Jensen in Bedford, Texas. Together Ray and Julie purchased a ranch northwest of Waco in Aquilla, Texas. Ray enjoyed his years as a cattle rancher and donkey wrangler. He was an avid gardener, planting a large vegetable garden every year. Ray also loved ornamental plants and maintained a large floral garden. He often brought plants back from his travels and scheduled vacations around botanical events. He also enjoyed researching family history and sharing his findings with others. Ray and Julie enjoyed international travel visiting the Christmas Markets of Germany and Austria 4 times and the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany 3 times as well as numerous other destinations.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Keith L. Jensen, his sister Norma J. Skogen and husband Ray L. Skogen, his brother-in-law William J. Greulich, his ex-wife Margie A. (Halsey) Jensen, his niece Joni R. Skogen, and his nephew Barry K. Holm.
Surviving him are his wife Julie; daughter Kamla Michelle and husband Alan Utz of Tyler, TX; daughter Kerlyn “Karie” Rochelle Jensen of Gulf Shores, AL; son Ray Kyle and wife Tami Jensen of Austin, TX; and son Grant Karlton and wife Andrea Jensen of Cedar Park, TX. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren with another great granddaughter due in March 2023. Additional survivors include his sister Grace Holm and husband Harold Holm, of Mt. Pleasant, WI; sister Marilyn R. Greulich, of Apple Valley, CA; sister-in-law Audrey J. Jensen, of Sioux Falls, SD. Ray is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews up to the great greats in the family tree.
Funeral and Memorial services for Ray will be at 10:00 AM on Saturday, December 10, at Spring Valley Lutheran Church, Viborg, South Dakota. Internment will be at Spring Valley Lutheran cemetery following the service.
A local Memorial service will be held on Friday, December 30 at 11:00 AM at Aderhold Funeral Home chapel, West, Texas.
In lieu of remembrances and for those desiring to make contributions in memory of
Dr. Ray E. Jensen, his family asks that you donate to either the Daneville Heritage Association, PO Box 372, Viborg, SD 57070 or to the Spring Valley Cemetery Association, 28842 448th Ave., Viborg, SD 57070.
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Starts at 10:00am (Central time)
Spring Valley Lutheran Church
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