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Rudy Jensen, local educational leader, passed away March 14, 2013 at age 91 after a long series of illnesses. Rudy was born in Hamburg, Germany and raised in Washington, DC. His family struggled through the Great Depression and the emergence of
World War II
. Rudy served in the US Eighth Air Force, voluntarily leaving a clerical post to fly 35 missions over Germany and France as a B-24 gunner.
The GI bill opened undreamed-of opportunities for Rudy. He graduated from Denver University with a B.A. and Master's Degree, and was a teacher and principal in Los Alamos, New Mexico and Pomona, California before serving as principal of Citrus School and Marigold School, Chico. After retiring from the Chico School District, Rudy developed his talents as a watercolorist and worked for Chico State University as a supervisor and evaluator of future teachers. Before living in Chico, Rudy and his wife Mary lived in Paradise for 23 years, where he served on the Senior Center Board and was co-founder of the environmental advocacy group, Southeast Paradise Residents Association.
Rudy is predeceased by his son Brittain and survived by his wife Mary Kay, daughter Dayne Jensen Johnston, grandson Devin Johnston, brothers-in-law Richard and Donald Cihak, and the 17 nieces and nephews of the Cihak, Kling and Wharton families.
The family wishes to thank the Enloe Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program and all of Rudy's physicians and nurses who for so many years supported his fight for life, as well as Enloe Medical Center and Courtyard for their tender care in his final days. A Celebration of Life will be held April 6, 1 pm at Lakeside Pavilion, 2565 California Park Drive, Chico 95928.
Rudy's generous spirit supported many causes. He would applaud donations to any charity. His own favorites are: The Salvation Army; The Nature Conservancy; the CSU Chico Mary and Rudy Jensen Music Recruitment Scholarship; the CSU Chico Mary and Rudy Jensen Special Education Teacher Preparation Scholarship; and InStove, providing institutional stoves to the developing world. You may make any donations in care of Newton-Bracewell Funeral Homes. You may share your memories of Rudy online at
Published in Paradise Post from Mar. 27 to Apr. 26, 2013
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