Keith Carpenter Jensen age 99, died suddenly on Tuesday, April 20 at his home in Grover. He was born April 17, 1922, in the small town of Grover, Wyoming to Lorenzo and Katie Amelia Carpenter Jensen. It was a humble beginning for this 13-pound baby, born to a hard-working family on a pioneer ranch. He was the 6th of 7 children, with one sister being born after him. Siblings were Harold Jensen, Ezra Jensen, Cyril Jensen, Fonda Jensen Dana, Royal Jensen, and Arlene Jensen Coverstone. He was the last surviving member of his immediate family.
Keith was the descendent of Danish immigrants who joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
in Denmark, later sailing to America in search of a better life. His grandfather James Jensen was the first Bishop in the town of Grover, serving for 20 years. Keith grew up and lived his entire life on the original homestead.
Family, church, and country were his top priorities. Helping on the homestead at an early age, he learned the value of hard work, and loved the beautiful area called Star Valley. His dad Lorenzo loved fine horses and Keith inherited that love. He and his brother Royal owned and raced thoroughbred horses for many years.
At 17 years old, when World War II broke out, Keith was passionate about serving his country and lied about his age to join the Marine Corps. He officially joined in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a group of young men known as the Mormon Battalion. In later years he loved telling his war stories and how every single member of that Battalion returned home with no deaths among them. Some were wounded, but no one was killed.
Keith served in the Pacific with the 2nd Marine Corp Division, serving as a Rifle Marksman, Temporary Assistant Cook, but mostly in Battery L. Artillery Company where he fought in many of the bloodiest and most important battles of the war. Those battles included Okinawa, Saipan, Tinian, Tarawa, Ryukyn Islands and others. While performing a fake landing in Okinawa, and drawing fire so the rest of the Marine Corps could land on the other side of the island, his ship the Hinsdale, APA-120, was hit by a Kamikaze. This suicide airplane killed many of his friends. He has always told his family that he survived that attack due to his mother’s fasting and prayers during his time in the service, as he was below deck in the area where the plane hit only a few minutes prior.
Upon returning from World War II, he met the love of his life, Nadine Murphy at the County Fair in Afton, Wyoming. After a short courtship, they were married in Idaho Falls, Idaho on December 11, 1945. Later the marriage was solemnized in the Idaho Falls Temple. Keith had a beautiful tenor voice and Nadine sang a great alto. When they married it was a match made in heaven for their talents as well. They were asked to sing at numerous funerals and community functions throughout his life. They were married for 75 years when he passed.
They settled next to Lorenzo and Katie on the homestead where Keith was born, greatly enlarging the small dairy farm his dad had started. They worked side by side on every venture of their lives. Numerous awards were given for their thriving dairy farm, but it was still a hard business, rising every morning at 4:00 AM to milk cows, and farming until late each day. Beyond milking and feeding the animals, he refused to do any haying on Sunday. It was the Lord’s day.
Keith was always sensitive to hay, and most of the farm animals they raised. When it became apparent that his allergies were not going away, they decided to try something else as a livelihood. They took their singing on the road and formed a country western band called the Rock-A-Billies. When old enough, most of their children and Nadine’s father and mother joined the band. People loved them and soon they began making much more money than in dairy farming.
In 1968 they put all of their energy into an outfitting business. It was hugely successful. Working alongside Keith in the new business as a guide, Nadine had always been a well-known cook, so now she starting cooking for the hunters. Again, it was a family venture with all of Keith’s children and their spouses, many grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren working side by side with Keith and Nadine. They had started by advertising in hunting magazines but had to quit as there were too many hunters to handle, even after hiring numerous guides. From then on it was word of mouth with most hunters bringing their families and raising their own kids hunting with Jensen Hunting Camp. The camp is still operating with Keith directing the affairs and still holding an outfitters license until his death. Clients still come just for the food if they do not draw lucky for a hunting permit.
During his lifetime he held various church callings including Ward Clerk, Counselor in the Elder’s Quorum, and alongside Nadine as Ward and Stake Young Married Leaders. Prayer was of great importance to Keith, and family prayer was held every night for his entire life. He consistently told his family that once you gave your word, you never went back on it. Keith never broke his word. He was extremely generous, sharing whatever he had to help others.
He is survived by his wife, Nadine Murphy Jensen, daughters Linda Jensen Spann (Donnie) of Clarksville, Tennessee, Kathy Jensen Horsley, (Dennis), Grover, Wyoming, sons Jeffrey Keith Jensen (Laura Faye), Grover, Wyoming, and Brett Jensen (Susan), of Grover, Wyoming, 16 grandchildren, 37 great- grandchildren, and 38 great-great- grandchildren. Preceded in death by one daughter Geraldine Jensen Steed (Sid), Grover, Wyoming, and 4 grandchildren.
The Jensen family would like to thank the Grover Ward Church and Relief Society, Schwab Mortuary, and many others who have helped make our burden lighter during this trying time.
To send flowers to Keith's family, please visit our floral store.