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Longtime UI Faculty Member Fred Jensen Dies

April 24, 2017

Longtime UI faculty member Alfred Wilbur (Fred) Jensen, 79, of Idaho Falls, died Saturday, April 1, 2017, at his home.

Fred was born on July 2, 1937, in Pocatello, Idaho to Anton “Tony”Wilhelm and Helen May Jensen. He spent the first 5 years of his life on the family farm in Crystal, Bannock County, Idaho. The family moved to Pocatello, Idaho where he graduated from Pocatello High School in 1956. He then attended Idaho State University. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Spanish from Utah State University. From 1962-1968, he attended the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his Master’s Degree and PhD. in Spanish and Latin American Literature.

On June 18, 1964, he married his true love, Carolyn Munns, in the Logan LDS Temple. To this union came six children: Anton, Matthew, Erika, Dan, Mary, and Stephanie.

While in high school Fred worked as a reporter for the Deseret News for the Pocatello area. While in college, he spent his summers as a park ranger for Yellowstone National Park where his duties included fighting wildfires and surveying the park.

During college, he worked as a teaching assistant in the Spanish department at Utah State and the University of Wisconsin. From 1968-2005 he was a professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Idaho, in Moscow, Idaho. While teaching at the University of Idaho he was voted “Teacher of the Year” five times by the student body. In 1991 he received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the University of Guayaquil in Ecuador for a summer. From 1998-2001, he taught as a professor of Spanish at Lewis and Clark State College, in Lewiston, Idaho.

Fred was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served an LDS Mission to the Uruguayan Mission (Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru) from 1957-1960. He served as a Bishop, a Bishop’s Counselor, Elder’s Quorum President, High Councilman and in the Primary.

He enjoyed art, especially oil painting (landscapes and portraits), loved reading church history and spending time with his family. He also loved the outdoors, especially hiking, camping, and fishing.

He had a wonderful sense of humor and was a great story teller.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Munns Jensen, of Idaho Falls, Idaho; his sons: Anton (Cathy) Jensen, of Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Matt (Jana) Jensen, of Blaine, Washington, and Dan (Karla) Jensen, of Olympia, Washington; his daughters: Erika (Tony) Paul, Mary (Doug) Coltrin, Stephanie (Jeff) Bird, all of Idaho Falls, Idaho; 30 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild with 2 more on the way.

He was preceded in death by his parents; Anton and Helen Jensen; a sister, Sherry Matthews; a brother, Carl Jensen; 2 granddaughters and 1 grandson.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Primary Children’s Hospital, 100 North Mario Capecchi Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84113

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Iona LDS 8th Ward Chapel, 4459 John Adams Parkway Idaho Falls, with Bishop Steven Boyle officiating. The family will visit with friends from 6-8 p.m., Friday, April 7, 2017, at Coltrin Mortuary, 2100 First Street, Idaho Falls, and one hour prior to services at the church. Burial will be in the Iona Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family online at

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