Eugene Reynolds Jensen passed away on May 30, 2019 in the Star Valley Care Center. He was 88 years old.
Eugene was born on March 19, 1932 in Smoot WY, to Erastus Nephi and Lillie Mae Jensen. He was the oldest of six children with 3 sisters Jennie, Joan, and Linda, and 2 brothers Ned and Dan. His family lived in a small two frame house, on an eighty acre farm about one half mile east of the town. He helped out on the farm with chores such as carrying water in buckets since there was no electricity or plumbing, gathering wood for their cook stove in the kitchen, and all the other chores that come along with life on the farm. He attended grade school in Smoot and Junior High in Afton.
In 1952 at 20 years old he joined the US Navy. Gene went to New Virginia for basic training. He spent most of the time on the water, but his last few months were spent in NewFoundland. He was released early with an honorable discharge in 1953, due to his dad being sick.
After Eugene returned from the Navy many kids his age would go to dances on Saturday nights at the Valleon Hotel. It was there where he met his eternal companion LaNae (Nield) Jensen. On the 27th of May in 1954 Gene and LaNae drove up to Jackson Hole in Gene’s 49 Ford, along with their mothers, and were married.
In his early years he worked at several different jobs. One of which was Don Wood Tractor here in Afton, he also worked for Harry Bruce at one of the service stations in Afton. When the Palisades Dam was being built he worked on that.
They tried to stay in the Valley after being married, but could only find seasonal work. So in 1958 they moved to Salt Lake City in search of steady work. They stayed there for two years, and in September of 1960 made their way to Climax, Colorado where he worked at a molybdenum mine. After a year they moved to Leadville, and then Salida in 1964 while still working at the Climax mine. In 1968 they ended up in Colorado Springs where Gene worked for Peter Kewiet construction as a heavy equipment mechanic. He was a member of the Operating Engineers Union for 25 years.
In the 80’s Gene went to Alaska and helped build the Trans Alaska Pipeline working on it for a couple years. After coming back from there he always said he wanted to move to Alaska permanently but never did. Once all of the kids were grown Gene and LaNae bought a fifth wheel trailer following the construction work, and moving to various places in Colorado and Utah. In 1986 LaNae decided to move back to their home in Star Valley, Wyoming while Gene remained working for a few more years. During that time he worked for a company that helped rebuild the railroad causeway that ran across the Salt Lake, which was about 60 miles west of Salt Lake City. His last job was near Battle Mountain Nevada where he worked on the mining equipment at a gold mine before returning to Auburn for retirement.
During his retirement he still loved to work on equipment such as old tractors and farm machinery for people around Auburn. He loved gardening, growing vegetables and flowers in the summertime. Gene loved literature and enjoyed poetry, reading and writing it. Bluegrass music was all you could find him listening to. He also loved reading, there wasn’t a time where he didn’t take a book to bed. He loved his family, and would host picnics for them at his home where there was always fun and good food. Gene was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He loved the church and was sealed to his beloved wife in the Idaho Falls Temple on July 23, 2010.
Gene was preceded in death by his mother Lillie, and father Erastus, sister Jennie, brother Ned, 2 grandchildren, and his dear wife LaNae Jensen.
He is survived by his 4 sons and one daughter Brad, Kirk, Rex, Deanne, and Rod. He had 17 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild. He will be dearly loved and missed.
Services will be held at Schwab Mortuary in Afton on June 4, 2020. A viewing will be held from 9:30-10:45 a.m. with the funeral service following at 11:00. Internment will be at the Afton Cemetery.
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