Robert (Bob) Eugene Jenson was born May 11, 1931, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Charles and Oral Jenson. He passed away peacefully on January 6, 2018, surrounded by family at his home in Pendleton.
Bob grew up on ranches as his parents moved throughout the Dakotas and Montana. In 1950, Bob married Betty Pegg and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving four years. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. After attending Montana State University in 1954 and later moving to Helena, he became a small business owner. He continued studies at Montana State, completing his master’s degree in sociology/U.S. history in 1967.
In the fall of 1967, Bob accepted a position at Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) teaching sociology and U.S. history. He married Evelyn Bruns on November 12, 1971. During his tenure at Blue Mountain he served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Families (1980), was an Eastern Oregon Regional Airport commissioner (1988-96), and a member of the Pendleton Transportation Plan Advisory Committee (1995-96). He retired from BMCC in 1993.
In 1996, Bob was elected to the Oregon Legislature House of Representatives. He chaired and served on nine major committees during his 18 years of service, committing his energies and expertise to constituents of Eastern Oregon and to priority issues concerning education, senior services, mental health, water resources and agriculture.
Bob was a member of the Peace Lutheran Church, the church council and Gideon’s International. He was a Life Master bridge player. He adored his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers that were always at his side. In retirement, he enjoyed their cabin at Lostine, reading (especially U.S. history), fishing, and watching sports.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents and cherished grandson Joshua Jenson. He is survived by his beloved wife Evelyn Jenson (Pendleton); four children (all of Pendleton), Robert and Delores Jenson, Linda and Victor Gehling, Charles and Patti Jenson, and Carol and Jim Aldrich; 11 grandchildren, Kirk Jenson, Kris Jenson, Charles Cook, Crystal Burton, Douglas Aldrich, Jamie Thompson, Jody Deardorff, Jessica Mulvihill, David Aldrich, Annie McBee, and Michael McBee; and 13 great-grandchildren.
On Saturday, January 13th, a private family graveside service with military honors will be observed at Olney Cemetery. A public memorial service will be held at the Peace Lutheran Church at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Peace Lutheran Church, Gideon’s International, or Friends of Olney Cemetery.
Online condolences may be shared with family at www.pioneerchapel.com.