Class of 1968
1949 – 11/30/12
Originally from the Los Angeles area, Jim’s interest in rocks goes back to the time he could first walk. Always a nature lover and rock-hound, spelunker, trailblazer, animal lover, hiker, and camper, he had a curiosity that never wavered.
Over the last 40 years Jim made his footprint in the world of applied sciences and engineering. He was considered by many an expert in the fields of geology, petroleum, hydrogeology, environmental and geotechnical engineering. Over the last few years he became immersed in research as a planetary geologist and the exploration and discovery of outer space resources. He was particularly fascinated with the Moon, Mars, Venus, the asteroids and comets.
Jim had a passion for mentoring and teaching young minds. He volunteered as a teacher of the Applied Sciences at the K-6 grade levels and at Sacramento State’s Continuing Education Program.
Many were eager to join Jim on the geologic and volcanologic field trips he organized and co-led around the Sierra Nevada, including the Tahoe basin, and the Cascades, Iceland, and Mexico. He led like-minded scientists and educators from all over the world that were eager to explore and discover alongside him while they enjoyed his unique, dry sense of humor.
Jim took every opportunity to be a mentor; he was a master at engaging people and infusing minds, young or old, with his many areas of knowledge.
In addition, Jim has long been involved in the sport of rugby. After playing for many years, he continued to manage and coach teams and players in the Sacramento Valley, nursing their wounds and making sure they were staying hydrated while cheering on the team. He liked to talk about rocks to his often bemused rugby friends. He formed decades-long friendships with rugby players from all over the world. There were few that weren’t touched by the kindness, passion, teachings, curiosity, and antics of Jim Jensen.
Many will recall deep conversations with Jim revolving around music. He was a die-hard fan of Neil Young, adopting a line from one of Neil’s songs as his often repeated motto: ‘It’s better to burn out than to fade away’. Anyone that knew Jim would likely agree that that is how he lived out his life. He never gave up on anyone or any endeavor; he always gave his best and never anything less.
Jim’s biggest pride was his only son, Phillip Jensen, of Midland, Texas, and his 2 grandsons, Ethan and Troy. As the big brother, JimBob played protector and godfather over his siblings Chris, Tom, Kathy, and David, nephews Wesley and Daniel, and nieces Kimberly and Katlyn. He was highly admired and deeply loved by all of his family, including his cousins Mike, Sue, Bob and Joe, their spouses, children and grandchildren, and brother-in-law John Rowley.
Whether you called him JimBob, Jimbo, Uncle Freaky, Frodo, JJ, Jimmy or Jim, he was one of a kind. He was compassionate, kind, smart, thoughtful, passionate and funny, whether appropriately or not, and was a friend to all. He will be sorely missed by family, friends, cats, and other stray creatures that always seemed to find him.
JIM WILL 'ROCK-ON' IN OUR HEARTS!