Cover photo for Christopher Jensen's Obituary
Christopher Jensen Profile Photo
1979 Christopher 2023

Christopher Jensen

May 10, 1979 — January 26, 2023

Christopher Kenneth James Jensen was born on May 10, 1979, in Guthrie Center, Iowa to Jackie "Jack" Lee Jensen and Cindy Lou Coe. He was baptized at the Methodist Church in Denison. He attended Denison Community School and spent his childhood in Denison. At a young age he took to mechanics and it came easy for him. Chris and his older brother Craig could be found outside in the garage following in the footsteps of his stepdad, Dean Vennink, working on his 1955 Chevy. Chris was not afraid of hard work. On summer breaks he would work for his uncles Frank and Robert Jensen with their sanitation businesses. At home with his mother Cindy, he was a happy child that was well mannered and easy going. To his siblings, Chris was a brother most people wished for. He was a best friend and protector. They looked up to him as a role model. Throughout his life, that brotherly love continued and he often would check in to make sure they were okay. Later, in his teenage years, Chris moved to Manilla, where he was raised by his aunt and uncle Greg and Kim Terlisner, along with their children, Kenny Steckelberg and Lindsey Schumann. Chris attended IKM school in Manilla. Greg and Chris had a special bond. Greg helped Chris get his first car and helped work on it. Chris could be found cruising the loop before and after school, finding a good mud road to see if he could pass through it, and challenging his friends in a quarter mile race outside of Manilla. Chris was anxious to get into the workforce and began working at McLaughlin Construction, alongside his uncles Greg and Clyde Terlisner, doing masonry and concrete work. His aunt Kim introduced Chris to Bridget Harlow in May 1997. Chris quickly took on the role of father to her son, Noah Ryan Harlow, when he was 4 months old. They moved from Manilla to Manning in 1998. They married May 26th, 2001, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Manilla by his friend, Father Gralapp. To this union, they had two children, daughter Jayden Leslie, and son Jack Paul, who died before birth. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Manning while he resided there.

Chris made his hobby his career and began working at Dalton Auto Center in Denison as a detailer. This is where he met his dear friends Simon Fuller and the "Dalton Gang". As a group of co-workers, they gathered on weekends and afterhours with their families. They truly were a second family to him. He then advanced to the service department, working as a mechanic. When Dalton's had a fire, he then went to work at Adam's Motors in Denison as a mechanic and later a service writer. He took several certification classes through the Chevrolet dealership to extend his knowledge. Dalton Auto reopened their doors later and renewed his employment there. The owner, Bryan Dalton, encouraged Chris to go out on his own when he showed interest. Chris then opened his own business, Jensen Service Center in Manilla. He would throw on a pot of coffee for his 'regulars' who were early morning risers to discuss small town news and 'shop talk'. Afterhours, he would gladly share a beer with his friends that would stop in and chat long after the last beer was gone. Chris didn't have regular shop hours. His selfless and giving spirit for his family, friends and the community was second to none. If he got a call from someone needing assistance, he would crawl out of bed and come to the rescue. Chris could never pass a vehicle on the side of the road without turning around and asking a stranger if they needed help. He would drive 3 hours to fix a car in the cold and drive 3 hours home for his family. After the divorce of his 1st wife, Chris began to work in Omaha, Nebraska at Baxter of Omaha, as a night shift manager certifying used trade in vehicles. Jayden often joined him and liked being at work with her dad.

He met his wife, Tessa Fletcher and moved to Cherokee, Iowa joining her and her daughters Kaylee and Lily Jorgensen. They united in marriage on September 7, 2019, at Silver Sioux Barn near Quimby, Iowa. He continued to work in the automotive field, working at Holzhauer Motors in Cherokee, Edwards Chevrolet in Storm Lake and other businesses until physical strain of the job began to affect his body. He changed career paths and began to work at the Y.E.S. Center in Cherokee where he enjoyed helping kids that were a bit down on their luck. Chris found a great group of friends in Cherokee. He loved attending nights out, barbeques, camping trips and get-togethers along with Tessa. Chris cherished his family. Hosting his family for holiday meals and gatherings was important to him. He always hated to say good-bye when it was time for them to leave. He enjoyed remodeling their house and making it a home. He loved his stepdaughters as his own.

As a father to Jayden and Noah, Chris attended his children's school sports, musicals, and plays. He sponsored the IKM-Manning Booster Club. He enjoyed sitting on the porch and watching them with their friends play in the yard. He often joined them in playing catch. He often would challenge them to a foot race as he had 'quick legs'. Noah and Jayden finally were able to beat him when they got into high school. He made time to take them on road trips and vacations, taking a few detours to make sure they entered several extra states that were not exactly planned for the trip, just so they all could say they had been to another state. He shared his passion for mechanics with his kids. They spent countless hours helping him work on the Camaros he restored, lawnmowers, bicycles and 4-wheelers. Jayden enjoyed being Chris's shadow wherever he was, and she was often at the shop cleaning, organizing tools and sweeping floors. He enjoyed taking them to car shows, drag races, tractor/truck pulls, and circle track races in surrounding communities. Chris was very organized and liked to stay busy. In the spring and fall he would open all the windows of the house and have them help clean the whole house in a day. He was a good cook. His chili and nachos were their favorites. Chris enjoyed taking care of the lawn, landscaping, building retaining walls, fishponds and firepits, encouraging them to take part. Many evenings were spent with Noah and Jayden in the Camaros with loud 80's and 90's rock music pumping through the speakers, cruising town to town, visiting family and friends or classic car rides.

He enjoyed becoming a grandfather to Jackson and Matthew. Greeting them with a "Hey little Buddy!" He often sent care packages or had a gift ready for them when they visited. He was excellent at spoiling them. He had hoped the Camaros he had restored would later be passed onto his children and grandchildren. He often mentioned with his kids about how someday Jackson and Matthew would have them to drive to proms and wedding days. He loved being an active part of his grandchildren's lives and no visit was ever long enough.

On Thursday, January 26th, 2023, Chris passed away at the age of 43 years at Accura Healthcare of Cherokee, following a lengthy illness.

He is preceded in death by his father Jackie Lee Jensen; stepdad Dean Vennink; son Jack Paul Jensen; stepbrother Michael Guzinski; grandparents Bill and Mina Jensen and DeWayne Coe and June Baugher.

Chris is survived by his wife Tessa Jensen of Cherokee; children Noah Harlow and son Jackson of Omaha, NE and Jayden Jensen (Corey Wood) and son Matthew of Manilla; stepdaughters Kaylee and Lily Jorgensen of Cherokee; mother Cindy (Larry) Guzinski of Stuart; siblings Craig Jensen (Amanda Hall) of Denison; Leslie (Lamont) Hibbert of Perry and Bobby (Sara) Sisk of Hubbard; step-brother Travis Guzinski of Menlo; God-daughter Evelyn Manhart of Omaha, NE; special uncle Greg (Kim) Terlisner and cousins Nick (Chelsie) Desy and Nate (Rachel) Desy, both of Denison, along with many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews; other relatives and friends.

A Celebration of Life service was held by Chris' family at Manilla Memorial Hall in Manilla, IA on Saturday, February 11, 2023. Chris' family are asked to gather at noon, followed by Jayden and Noah's extended family at 1pm. A prayer will be said at 1:30 pm and lead by Lamont Hibbert, Chris' brother-in-law. The service will then be opened to the public to greet and give respect to the family. A luncheon will be served starting at 2pm. There will be a farewell toast by Noah and Jayden. Everyone is encouraged to share memories of Chris if they wish to do so. All are welcome to stay for fellowship into the evening.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Christopher Jensen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, August 5, 2023

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