WHEATLAND – On January 16, Carl E. Jensen passed away in Denver of heart failure with his oldest daughter, Emily, holding his hand.
Carl was born in Lewistown, Montana on February 10, 1937, with a smile on his face to Viggo and Tillie Jensen. He was raised on a ranch in Central Montana. It was here he found he liked to draw pictures and make small figures out of clay. The ranch was 3 ½ miles from a one room school. Carl and his sister, Elizabeth, road saddle horse there until the 8th grade. Then he went to Fergus High School and graduated in 1956. He was an outstanding athlete, known for his football skills. At 19, he enlisted in the Air Force for four years and was stationed in Bermuda as a weatherman.
After he finished his time in the military, he went home to Montana where he loved to cowboy, fish, hunt, and ranch. When he returned to the home ranch it was being run by his older brother, Otto. He found there was no chance for him there, he went to work for U.S. Gypsum (a company that makes wall board).
From there he was able to get a job with the Boeing Aerospace Company. While on a plane, he met and fell in love with Janel Foster. They married in 1965 and spent 56 years together and had two daughters. He worked and went to night school for 14 years, studying art in many different colleges and universities across the West and Midwest.
In 1974, Carl returned to the land, farming and ranching north of Wheatland. This was compatible with his art, giving him the late fall and winter months to study his inspirations. In 1996, he took a presidential commission and ran the Farm Service Agency for the State of Wyoming under President Clinton. He left in 2001 to do art, painting and sculpting full-time.
His first life-size sculpture was in 1983 in Gillette of a man, two dogs and a horse and rider. He proceeded to do an irrigator, bulldog, dove memorial and a military man for Wheatland;
a Welsh Pony for Casper, and Grand Rapids, Michigan; a horse and rider of Wyoming’s former Goshen County Representative, Jim Hageman; a fountain for Douglas; a workhorse pulling a log, lab dog and a military man for Lewistown, Montana; a man shoeing a horse for Grand Rapids, Michigan; a cowboy standing with his horse and every branch of the military for Thermopolis; a boy with a watering can fountain for Albuquerque, New Mexico; a lab puppy for Boulder and Loveland, Colorado; a girl riding a pig and milking a cow for Grand Rapids, Michigan; a statue of Governor Stan Hathaway for Cheyenne; a pioneer memorial of a man with a plow with a team of horses for Sioux Center, Iowa; a sitting labrador retriever for Mills, Wyoming and Lakewood, Colorado; a veteran memorial sailor for Richfield, Idaho; a Military Memorial of each branch of the armed services for Pine Bluffs; another dove memorial for Sheridan and Lakewood, Colorado; along with numerous small sculptures, western paintings and a traffic box art wrap in Lakewood, Colorado.
He loved to sit in his art spot and work on his paintings later life. He was always upbeat. He was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2020 and was put on dialysis. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday he rode the Platte ParaTransit van to Cheyenne for dialysis. Other days were spent painting, sculpting, watching western movies and bird watching.
Carl is survived by his two daughters, Emily and Margaret Jensen, and son-in-law Brian Dubois, along with numerous cousins, nephews, and nieces.
Memorials may be given to the family to make a bench with a life-size dog to be placed in the Moore, Montana cemetery where Carl and Janel Jensen will be laid to rest looking at the various mountain ranges. Donations can be mailed to Jensen Art’s at 15 West Fairview, Wheatland, Wyoming 82201.
A celebration of life for Carl and Janel will be held in June 2024.