Remembering Ivan Jensen

Ivan Jensen, retired professor of civil engineering, died April 11, 2010.

He was born May 28, 1920, in Minneapolis, the son of Jacob and Elvera Jensen. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1946 with a Master of Civil Engineering degree in the mid 1940s. He was employed as a draftsman with the Pillsbury Engineering Co.; as a junior engineer with E.E. DuPont DeNemours and Co., and as a stress analyst with the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. During this time, he wrote a text in design practices, which he used when he began teaching at the University of North Dakota in 1946. He retired from UND in 1980, having served as professor and chair of the Department of Civil Engineering. As a teacher of problem solving, his reputation with his engineering students over the years remains “unforgettable.”

Along with teaching, he owned a consulting business, providing technical design and investigative services for his clients and field experience for those learning the profession. His expertise included testing subsoil for structure design, construction analysis, and occasional investigation and technical representation on cause and effect.

Ivan excelled in bridge, curling, bowling, speed skating, and dancing. His competitive spirit was most evident when he played tennis and handball, which he played aggressively into his 60s. His love of classical music was evident throughout his life, beginning with the violin as a child and learning on instruments handcrafted by his father, Jacob. His personal pride in music was demonstrated when he earned second violin at the University of Minnesota. Some of his trademarks were his always-present cigar, the construction of the perfect gimlet, and a strong need to lead in song at gatherings.

Active in fraternal and community groups, Ivan was proud of a nearly perfect attendance record with Lions International for 50 years from 1957 to 2007. The Elks, School for the Blind, Shriners, Senior Citizen Center, and Salvation Army were all beneficiaries of his generosity.

He was recently recognized by the State Board of Professional Engineers in North Dakota as the longest-serving registrant Professional Engineer, with 60 years of service.

He is survived by his wife Roxanne of Ketchum, Idaho; sons Ron (Becky) Jensen, Bloomington, Minn., Rod (Vicki) Jensen, Fergus Falls, and Roger Jensen, Blanchard, Okla.; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jacob and Elvera Jensen, Minneapolis, Minn., and his son Russell Jensen. Ivan was married to Mildred (Skiba) Jensen from 1945 to 1971 when they divorced. Mildred Jensen Bernard died in 1999.

A private prayer service is planned by his family.