My name is Mary Ann Whitehead Overson and this blog is dedicated to all the amazing men and women who came before me: my ancestors. I also want to acknowledge my father, Armand Toyn Whitehead, who is the person responsible for a lot of the content in this blog; my dad has spent countless hours collecting and preserving photos and histories, and preserving them on the computer so that they can be handed down for generations. Thank you, Dad!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day: Honoring Andrew Leslie Jensen, WWII Veteran

Andrew Leslie Jensen
Born:  13 Nov 1919 Goshen, Utah
Died:  7 Apr 2007 Glendale, Maricopa, Arizona
Buried:  13 Apr 2007 Salem, Utah, Utah
Married Lilly Mignon Johnson:  11 May 1948
Ely, White Pine, Nevada, USA
Parents:  Charles Christopher Jensen
and Emma Louisa Bale Jensen

Andrew Leslie Jensen is the third child born to Charles and Emma Jensen.  He was my mother's older brother, and one she stayed very close to as the years went by.  I knew him as Uncle Les, but many knew him as Andy, outside of the family, so I will refer to him as Andy.  As you can tell from his pictures, he was quite a character!

When he was 22, he was enlisted in the U.S. Army, Infantry Division, as a Private.  The information I have about his service is secondhand from my mother, and since she has passed away, I am having to delve into my seriously malfunctioning memory to recall his service.

I do know that he served in France during the war.  He wasn't out for very long when he was wounded and sent to a hospital in England to recuperate.  He brought back some mementos of his service:  Embroidered emblems, such as the lapel bars, and the swastika and Eagle emblem from a Nazi soldier's uniform; a silver stick pin from a German soldier's uniform; some German money; and, to me most special of all, a bracelet that he made from old English silver coins.  After he recuperated from his wounds, he stayed in England and out of combat.

I remember that he worked at several jobs, but he had no education beyond grammar school, so they were menial jobs.  Before the war he worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and helped to terrace the mountainside above Utah County.  He said that they made up stuff for men to do, useless jobs that had no meaning, no rhyme, no reason.  It was a job, though, and he was glad to have it.

As he got older, he worked at full service stations, one of which was Larsen's, a gas station very near to where I lived with my parents in Orem when I was a senior in High School.  One day I went to gas up my car, the snow coming down like crazy and so cold I could barely stand it - I was shocked to look up and realize that the man cleaning my windshield and gassing up my car was my Uncle Les!  He was definitely past 70 years of age, but he was spry and witty - always had a smile!  He didn't like just sitting around, and enjoyed hard, physical work.  When he got older, though, he became ill, and had to slow down.  He went to live out of state with one of his children for a while.

Emma Louisa Jensen and Andy, circa 1980

Andy, on his mother's back porch
His funeral was well attended.  My sister and I went, but my mom was on a mission and couldn't be there.  It was such a treat to see all of his family.  His daughter took us out to her car after the luncheon, and there were bags of hats that he had collected over the years.  She was giving them away to anyone who wanted one or two.  She told me that he wore a hat every day, and that he wore every single hat he had!  At the graveside their was a 21-gun salute, honoring his service, and his casket was draped with an American Flag.

Thank you, Uncle Les, for your service to our country.  Thanks to ALL who now serve and those who have served - my father, my sister-in-law, and my nephew included.  Thank you for your willingness to protect our freedoms and the rights of this country that we often take for granted.  I pray for you and your families, and thank God for all that we enjoy in this, still the greatest country in the world:  The United States of America!

Andrew Leslie Jensen Obituary:

Andrew Leslie Jensen departed this world on April 7, 2007 in Glendale, Arizona where for the last 7 years he made numerous friends and enjoyed bowling.
He was born on November 13, 1919 in Goshen, Utah. He was preceded by his wife, Mignon Johnson and oldest son, Kent, 2 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. He is survived by his daughters Angie Jensen and Kathy Morrow and his sons David Jensen and Doug Jensen. Additional survivors include a sister Afton Whitehead, 13 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Andrew served his country in the U.S. Army and his God in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He retired from Geneva Steel Corporation after 28 years and spent his spare time camping, fishing, hunting and all things mechanical.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 13, 2007 at 11 a.m. at the Knoll Park Ward Chapel, 160 South 460 West, Salem. Family and friends may call Thursday evening from 6-8 p.m. at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main, Spanish Fork and Friday prior to services from 9:45-10:45 a.m. at the church. Interment will be in the Salem City Cemetery.
Published in the Daily Herald on 4/9/2007.

Buried in the Salem City Cemetery, Salem, Utah, USA

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