Ronald Neil Jensen
Ronald Neil Jensen, age 87, passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 17, 2020, at home. Ron was born in Devils Lake, ND, to the late Floyd and Mae (Berg) Jensen and was a Hampton resident for 55 years. He was a 1955 graduate of the University of North Dakota with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. On March 16, 1959, he married Ruth Anna Humphrey of Fairport, NY, and together they raised two children.
During high school and junior college, Ron worked as a substitute rural mail carrier and farmhand in ND. During college, he worked on the Great Northern Railway as a “gandy dancer” or track upkeep worker. After college, Ron worked as a mechanical engineer for DuPont in TX, DE, and VA. He earned his professional engineer certification. He then worked as a civilian contractor with the Air Force in CA before transferring to Langley AFB in VA. After several years Ron transferred to NASA Langley in Hampton and worked on air conditioning and utility projects and computer programs for effective energy use. He was assigned to solar projects during the 1970s energy crisis and held an essential role in the solar field project at NASA for many years. As a result, he was selected to participate in the People to People program and gave several technical presentations during his trip to China. He was a 50-year member of ASHRAE and held many offices for the organization. Ron attained the distinction of Fellow from ASHRAE in 1981. In his last years at NASA, Ron worked on a vacuum sphere for the Mach 9 wind tunnel. He retired from NASA after 30 years of government service to pursue his love of art. For many years, Ron enjoyed participating as backstage help and set designer/artist for the Hampton Roads Civic Ballet Company. He was a member of the Hampton Arts Commission, a prolific painter, and the founder of Tuesday Morning Painters at the Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Ruth Humphrey Jensen; daughter, Rebecca A. Karatsikis (John) of Yorktown, VA; son, Peter N. Jensen (Orlena Cheng) of Clarksville, MD; four grandchildren, Dr. Alexa K. Vinson (Braxton) of Richmond, VA, Sophia K. Ruiz (Bradley) of Virginia Beach, VA, Andrew M. Cheng and Kai M. Jensen of Clarksville, MD; three great-grandchildren, Luca Ruiz, Zoe Ruiz, Theodore Vinson; sister Sandra J. Dahl of Fargo, ND and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Gary Jensen of Santa Rosa, CA and Douglas Jensen of Chaska, MN. The family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers of Bayada Home Health Care, Riverside Palliative Care, and Riverside Hospice Care.
Interment will take place at Peninsula Memorial Park. Given the restrictions placed on public gatherings at this time, a memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations may be made in Ron’s name to the Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center, 4205 Victoria Boulevard, Hampton, VA 23669.
Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.