Tressa Checketts Jensen |
1915 - 2014
Our loving, kind, generous, and persevering mother, Tressa Jemima Checketts Jensen, 98, peacefully passed away from natural causes, February 21st at her Coventry home in Cottonwood Heights, UT.
Born April 29, 1915, on a snowy spring day in Providence, Utah, Mom enjoyed telling the story of her own mother hanging the laundry out to dry in the morning, and the doctor trudging through a foot of snow, that evening, to deliver her.
Tressa was the eldest of 4 daughters, followed by 3 sons, born to Arthur Wilford and Frieda Vaterlaus Checketts. Tressa revered her pioneer heritage and her grandfather, George Checketts, who worked for the railroad and is prominently pictured in the historic Charles Savage photograph entitled, "East Meets West." The photo was taken May 10, 1869, at Promontory, Utah, where her Grandpa George witnessed the driving of "The Golden Spike," symbolically completing the Transcontinental Railroad. Tressa's father was a fruit farmer on the Providence bench, and she learned "the farm work ethic" at an early age.
Tressa's tenacity for a job well done was not lost on her Aunt Peggy Griggs, who was a former "Harvey Girl" for the railroad and now the owner of the Griggs Café in Preston, Idaho. Peggy was a hard driving boss, but Mom learned a great deal from her. If one could survive Aunt Peggy and even please her, then The Great Depression didn't seem so scary. But Peggy eventually lost her best waitress and, to her dismay, it was because she hired the tall, blue-eyed dishwasher who had hounded her for a job just to be close to Tressa! Lorenzo "Renny" Jensen, the son of another Preston business owner, couldn't get the shapely dark haired Tressa to, as he put it, "give him a second look," until he worked at her aunt's café. Their Saturday night dancing dates to the music of Mickey Hart's band, sealed the deal, and Tressa and Lorenzo were married, Feb. 11, 1935. (Marriage later solemnized in the Logan Temple).
The Jensen's made their home, for the next 40 years, in Southern California, where they raised their three children, Gary, Joylene and Todd. Lifelong members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they were active members of the Hollywood, San Fernando, Granada Hills, and Northridge Wards. Mom was an accomplished seamstress, and during WWII the wives of soldiers, serving in uniform, brought their husband's civilian dress suits to her. She remade them into stylish women's wear because woolen garments were in short supply due to wartime rationing. Mom and Dad loved entertaining family and friends. Mom's culinary talents included family favorites like lasagna, enchiladas, and her very famous mouth-watering cinnamon twists, fresh out of the oven, and drizzled with icing. These were just some of her life-long recipe collections that were enjoyed at her beautifully set dinner table. Our Dad never missed these opportunities to entertain everyone by singing and playing his renditions of "Whispering," on the organ.
In 1978, after her retirement from the Los Angeles Unified School District, Tressa and Lorenzo returned to their native Utah and lived the next 25 years in their SLC Waterbury Condo. They enjoyed many good years filled with family, friends, travel and church service before moving to the Coventry Retirement Center in 2003.
Tressa and Lorenzo were married 72 1/2 years when he unexpectedly died in 2007 at age 94. No matter what the challenges or hardships, our mother's optimistic mind-set and adaptability prevailed. She survived childhood rheumatic fever and was a 16 year cancer survivor. Until age 93 she participated in the annual Komen "Race for the Cure." She walked arm-in-arm with her daughter Joy as son Todd ran the races. Mom always said, "I've been blessed with a wonderful family and a good life."
Survived by her son, Gary Jensen (Marilyn), daughter, Joy Feist (Dan), son, Todd Jensen (Carmelle), all of SLC. Tressa leaves 9 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great granddaughters, and sister, Ruth Halverson (Ogden) her three brothers, Art, (Ogden) George (Pleasant View) and Jay Checketts (Logan) their wives, numerous nieces, nephews, longtime Coventry friends, Janice, Cherie, Mandy, Jose, Gabe, Alta, Molly, Whitney. Preceded in death by sisters, Lois Stokes and Elma Chugg.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 1st 2014, 11:30 a.m. at Cannon Mortuary, 2460 E. Bengal Blvd. (7600 S.), Cottonwood Hts. UT. Viewing at 10:30 prior to services. Interment, Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, SLC, UT.
Our family extends heart-felt appreciation to the Coventry and Haven staff.
Online condolences www.cannonmortuary.com
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Feb. 23 to Feb. 26, 2014