Salt Lake City, Utah-Tom Jensen passed away peacefully on July 25, 2020 resulting from natural causes associated with age and Alzheimer's Disease. He was living in the Memory Care Cottages at Legacy Village in Sugarhouse and as a family we are so grateful for their care and kindness. In particular, we would like to thank Logan, Patrick, Wilma, Annie, Jennifer and Scott along with the many others that attended to him.
Tom was born Ernell Thompson Jensen on May 9, 1932 to Ernell Jensen and Leda Faye Thompson. He was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tom grew up in the Harvard Yale area and attended Uintah Elementary, Roosevelt Jr. High and East High school. As a teenager, Tom loved to dance and spent many summer evenings at Lagoon where young people would go to dance and mingle. There he met and fell in love with Shirley Kirk. Together, they amazed those around them with their dance moves.
Tom graduated from East High and attended the University of Utah for three years completing his requirements for acceptance to Dental School. After his first year of study at Northwestern University, he returned to Salt Lake to marry his sweetheart, Shirley on September 2, 1953 in the Salt Lake Temple. He graduated in 1956 and moved his family from Chicago to the Naval Base in San Diego, California to fulfill his military responsibility. He served in the Navy for two years and at the completion of his service, his rank was Lieutenant Commander. He continued to serve in the Navy reserves for several years thereafter.
In 1959, Tom established his dental practice in Salt Lake City as one of only a handful of dentists that specialized in pediatric dental care. He enjoyed a successful practice for forty years in the Salt Lake Valley. Tom and Shirley raised their family in what was then identified as "St. Mary's" area above Foothill drive. They developed lifelong relationships in that neighborhood with many whose friendship sustained them through their personal life challenges. After retirement, Tom enjoyed volunteer service and supported those efforts at Shriners Hospital, Cottonwood Hospital and Intermountain Medical Center. Shirley passed away in 2001 and Tom later married Jan Fredrickson in 2006. They spent several enjoyable years together.
More than anything Tom loved family. Time spent together included Lake Powell, Capistrano Beach, Bear Lake, skiing at Park City and traveling to historical sites throughout the US. Tom was thrilled with each and every birth of his nine grandchildren, rarely missed a game or recital. Many wonderful memories were created at the condo in Park City, on the boat or playing in the ocean.
In 1999 Tom was able to check off a bucket list item, by traveling to Kenya, Africa as a medical care provider participating in a humanitarian expedition with Choice Humanitarian. Without electricity, Tom was able to provide dental care to over 500 local Africans. He loved the Safari on the Serengeti, witnessing wild animals in their own habitat.
Tom had a great love for golf, snow skiing, water skiing and bowling. He was a master bridge player, and avid reader. He loved the theater and shared his love of theater with his family by making sure they were included in everything from Shakespeare festival to Local theater organizations. He looked forward to frequent trips to New York to see the latest Broadway plays. Unfortunately, he could not participate in these activities during the past few years, which was heart wrenching for those family members that watched over his declining health. But, despite his condition, he never lost his sense of humor or that silly grin that meant he was "just kidding."
At the time of his death, Tom was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints having served in many callings throughout his lifetime.
He is survived by his sister Valere Summers (Ralph) and brother, Gaylen Jensen (Brenda). Three of his four children: Vicki Spuhler (Curt), Shauna Larson (John), Steven Jensen (Michelle). He has 9 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren.
Tom is preceded in death by his one true love ( Shirley), his son, (Gordon) and his son-in-law(Rick Spuhler), parents, brothers (Robert and Graydon) and sisters (Arlene, Louise, Effie).
Thank you, Dad for teaching us to be kind, responsible, honest, non-judgemental and hard working and that our actions toward others is far more important than any personal accomplishments. We love you and miss you already!
Internment at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary.
Published in The Salt Lake Tribune from Jul. 31 to Aug. 2, 2020.