Cover photo for Nels Arnold Jensen's Obituary
Nels Arnold Jensen Profile Photo
1939 Nels 2023

Nels Arnold Jensen

January 12, 1939 — April 14, 2023


Nels Arnold Jensen, of Gayville, South Dakota, died April 14, 2023, at Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Funeral services will be 10:30 AM on May 19, 2023 at Discovery Church in Yankton, South Dakota, with Pastor Cory Kitch officiating.  Burial will be in the Danish Cemetery in Gayville, South Dakota.  Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at Discovery Church.  Arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton, South Dakota.  In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to Gideons International (

Nels Arnold Jensen of Gayville, South Dakota was born January 12, 1939 to Margaret Nelson Jensen and Eiler Frerderick Jensen at Vermillion, South Dakota.  He lived his entire life in the Meckling – Gayville, South Dakota area.  On September 4, 1959, he married Mary Elizabeth Fargo.  In January, 1968, they purchased the farm then owned by Mary’s parents, Mark and Lucille Fargo, located south of Gayville.  In August, 1968, they adopted their only child, Paul Christian Jensen who married Laurie Dawn Rich on May 28, 1994.  Paul and Laurie’s marriage produced three grandchildren to Nels and Mary; Andrew Christian Jensen, Joshua Grant Jensen, and Caleb Paul Jensen.

Nels was an exceptional athlete in high school.  He excelled at football, basketball, and track.  He won state championships his senior year in both shotput and the 100-yard dash, a rare combination of events for a single individual.

Nels purchased dairy cows in 1972 and engaged in dairy farming for twenty years until health issues forced him to sell the herd.  He continued to live in the farm house with Mary after retiring from dairy and the farmland was rented to other farmers. 

Nels loved farm implements, tractors in particular.  He was a member of Tri State Old Iron Association (TSOIA) and Farm Bureau.  He regularly engaged in summer tractor rides with TSOIA.

Nels was a man of faith.  He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior on May 26, 1972 after his father-in-law passed away.  He served on several church boards and was an active member of the Gideons for over fifty years.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Jensen, his son, Paul (Laurie) Jensen, his grandchildren, Andrew Jensen, Joshua Jensen, and Caleb Jensen, and his siblings, Ellis (Mary Ellen) Jensen, Gary (Cynthia) Jensen, Robert (Sharon) Jensen, and Marvin (Connie) Jensen, plus numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.  Surviving in-laws include Beulah (Don) Anderson, Eunice Montgomery, Lois (Alec) Solberg, Judy (Tom) Ingalls, and Charlyn Fargo Ware.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eiler Jensen and Margaret Jensen, and siblings, Karl Jensen, Gladys (Elmer) Carlson, and Alice (Henry) Hoesing and Norman (Betty) Jensen.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, May 19, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am

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