Gerald Church Jensen (Jerry) age, 72, passed away on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 in the Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah. He was born in the old Utah Valley Hospital on August 29, 1949, to Alva O. (Al) and Margaret Jane (Peggy) Jensen.
Jerry lived in Orem until his family moved to Cedar City when he was about 3 years old. His dad worked for US Steel and was transferred to be the head of safety over the Columbia Mines.
Jerry went to North Elementary, Cedar Junior High, and Cedar High School. He was active in school and played football, track and baseball. He also played Little League and Pony League Baseball under the watchful eye of his dad who was his coach.
Jerry’s family spent most of the summer and fall each year up on the mountain at Navajo Lake, Duck Creek and Strawberry camping, fishing and hunting. His dad always seemed to know where the game was and would be successful if he could keep the kids quiet.
In the summer of 1966, Jerry’s family moved to Lander, Wyoming. The mines started to close and many of the workers were transferred to Lander. He spent his junior and senior years at Lander High School and participated in football, track and baseball. He also played American Legion baseball being coached by his dad. He graduated in 1968.
After graduating he was called on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Los Angeles, California for 2 years. He received an honorable release in 1970.
He started to attend BYU in Provo but Uncle Sam notified him that he was being drafted. He then enlisted in the US Navy for 4 years. He quit school and went home until he reported to duty at NTC in San Diego, California. After training he was assigned to the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur, DDG 31 and stationed in Long Beach, California. He remained on the same ship for his entire enlistment. He made 3 WesPac cruises and a midshipman’s cruise. He was over the VietNam when the withdrawal began in 1972.
After his 1st cruise he decided to attend a ward that he had served in in Torrance, California. A new family had moved into the ward and he was to meet his future bride. They started out as casual friends.
After going on his midshipman’s cruise and attending his brother’s wedding in Arizona, he attended the Torrance Ward. Shirley Bacon invited him to her family’s house for dinner. Jerry hit it off with her dad since he had also served in the Navy. That evening they attended a fireside.
On the following Tuesday, August 29, 1072, Jerry picked Shirley up for a Young Single Adult beach party at Playa del Rey. To make a long story short, they got unofficially engaged on their first date. It became official on Sunday, September 17, after Jerry spoke with her dad. They were married on September 15, 1973.
On January 3, 1973, Jerry left on his 2nd cruise for 7 months and returned in August. The couple was sealed for time and all eternity on September 15, 1973, in the Los Angeles, California Temple.
The ship relocated to San Diego and the newlyweds made their home in Pacific Beach. In July, 1974, Jerry made his 3rd and final cruise to the western Pacific. He returned in January, 1975. They remained in San Diego until Jerry was discharged in April 1975.
The couple moved to Bountiful, Utah, and Jerry attended LDS Business College in Salt Lake. He also attended Utah Technical College in Taylorsville, and Utah State in Logan.
While attending he was elected ASB Vice President and Student Senate President. He was active in student activities, DECA and athletics. He was elected to WHo’s Who Among America Junior Colleges. He was working, going to school and the father of two small children. They had a son, Gerald Curtis (Curt) and a daughter, Kandi Kay.
While he lived in Utah he was a member of the Army National Guard as a member of the Military Police Unit in Murray, Utah. He was given the opportunity to attend the Non Commissioned Officers Academy at Camp Williams. He received the Command Sergeant Major award for outstanding leadership. He also received the Governor's Award. He was offered the opportunity to become an instructor at the academy. He was also an instructor in Arizona after relocating there.
The family moved from Logan in 1982 after attending school and adding another daughter, Brandi Ann. The offer was made to Jerry to go to Mesa, Arizona, to work with his brother, Al. that opened the door to a career in real estate and finance. While in Arizona another son was added to the family, Carl James.
Jerry was very active coaching your sports for over 30 years. He made a real impact on many young people.
In 2005, after his kids were grown and on their own the decision was made to return to Cedar City. Jerry opened a mortgage office and in 2008 when the financial field went flat they lost their business, home and property.
Jerry was an active member of the LDS church all his life. He served as Scout leader, Stake Missionary, Elders Quorum President and Councilor, Young Men’s President and Councilor, 2nd Councilor in the Enoch Young Men’s Presidency, Bishopric Councilor in the YSA 8th Ward Bishopric and High Councilor Member in the Cedar YSA 1st Stake.
Jerry loved working with the youth coaching and teaching them. Our home was open to them and they knew that Jerry loved them. He loved working with his own kids and grandkids. He was very proud of all of them.
He was an avid fan of working out and participating in senior athletics. He ran in senior games throughout Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. He also completed the St. George Marathon.
In 2020 Jerry was diagnosed with prostate and bladder cancer. He had surgery in May, 2020. He was classified as a Downwinder since he grew up in southern Utah. He had just started working out again when he came down with COVID.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Shirley, of 48 years. His children, Curtis (Lucinda) Jensen of San Tan Valley, Kandi Davies of Mesa, Arizona, Brandi Ann Jensen of Cedar City, and Carl James Jensen of Cedar City. Grandchildren Austyn Lee, Hannah Marie, Michael Curtis and Ronald James Davies, Joseph Curtis, Haylee Rae, Jennah Alexis, Jaideen Ella, and Clinton Arthur Jensen, Montana and Kai’wa Nahinu, Jaxx Austyn and James Oliver Jensen, McKyla, Kameron and KJ Wiley. Siblings Jae (Terry) Curfman, Alva O. (Al, Kip) Brenda Jensen, and Terry (Leean) Jensen.
He was preceded in death by his parents, half brother, Tony Gray, in laws, Charles and Joan Bacon, Brother in law, Chuck Bacon, and grandson, James Kapono Nahinu, IV.