His wife of 60 years, Sally was right by his side giving him comfort and love as he passed. Dick was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 8, 1933 to Stan and Billie Jensen. He grew up in Annisquam and Gloucester, Massachusetts which formed his love of the sea. He, his brother Mike Jensen and sister “Boo” Hruby grew up climbing ‘Squam Rock, delivering newspapers and watching the lobster fisherman return with their catches. Dick and Mike were also in the Sea Scouts. (Dick’s early love of the news may have been what led to his obsession with Fox News later in life!) After graduating from Gloucester High in 1951, where he played the position of Center on the football team, Dick embarked on a brief football career at Cornell University. Then came something that forever changed the trajectory of Dick’s life; an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Ensign Jensen graduated from the Academy in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Dick went on to get a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School at Ford Ord in Monterey, California.
Dick took to the seas completing four patrols as a naval submariner. He sailed on diesel-electric, Balao-class submarines including the USS Barbero, the second U.S. Navy submarine to be equipped with nuclear cruise missiles. Dick eventually went from patrolling the Siberian coastline to walking on the Hawaiian beaches when he was transferred to Pearl Harbor. It was there, sitting at the Snooper Bar at the Reef Hotel on Waikiki Beach that the love of his life walked through the door. Sally was in Hawaii taking summer classes. It was love at first sight, and they were inseparable from that day forward. Dick and Sally were married on June 24, 1961 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin which was Sally’s home town. Dick’s naval career also took the family to Guam where they enjoyed the island life of snorkeling, beaches, sightseeing and adventures in the boonies. While on Guam, Dick served as a Catholic deacon and C.C.D. instructor. After 20 years of service, Dick retired as a Commander from the USN. He moved his family to Appleton, Wisconsin where Dick tried his hand as a small business owner when he purchased Fox Valley Communications, a two-way radio business. From there he went to work for Johnson Controls as a salesperson which is where he ended his career.
For fun, Dick enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles, playing tennis, the Packers, Navy football, taking long walks on freezing Wisconsin winter days, and throwing back some white wine or a Rob Roy. But, family was always the most important thing to Dick. Everyone who knew Dick loved him. He was kind, gentle, stoic, honorable, patriotic, smart, and an overall good sport. He will be deeply missed by his loving family and adoring friends.
Dick is survived by his beloved wife Sally Jean Jensen (Copps), daughter Sarah (Gert) Paynter Hasselhof, son Erik (Sara) Jensen, son Stephen (Jennifer) Jensen, and daughter Amy (Jim) Burke; his grandchildren: Melissa (Zachary) Rabiego, Lizzy (and special friend Jennelle Schmidt) Paynter, Abby (and special friend Michael Trainor) Paynter, Erin Kite, Elliot Kite, Jack Jensen, and Kate Jensen; his great-grandchildren, Ryan and Josephine Rabiego. He is also survived by his brother Michael (Jane) Jensen and sister Billie (Ken) Hruby. Dick is preceded in death by his parents, Stanley Charles Jensen and Billie Jane Jensen (Cooke).
Services for Dick will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at the Holly Funeral Home, 526 S. Main Street, Waupaca, WI 54981 with Deacon Bob Precourt officiating. Interment will be in the Central WI Veterans Memorial Cemetery, King at a later date. Visitation will be held on Saturday, from 1 p.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the United States Naval Academy in Dick’s honor.