Darrel Einer Jensen

Posted 3/6/24

Darrel Einer Jensen, 91, of Redfield, SD, passed away Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at Dignity Health East Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Chandler, AZ.

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Darrel Einer Jensen


Darrel Einer Jensen, 91, of Redfield, SD, passed away Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at Dignity Health East Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Chandler, AZ.

   Visitation, with family present, will be from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at Hyke Funeral Home in Redfield.

   Darrel’s funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 11, at Hyke Funeral Home.  Pastor LeShea Avery will officiate.  Burial, with military honors, will follow at St. Bernard’s Catholic Cemetery in Redfield.

   The funeral service will be live-streamed on the funeral home’s website below Darrel’s obituary (www.hykefuneralhome.com). 

   Darrel Einer Jensen was born on October 23, 1932, in Aberdeen, SD, to Edward Marinus and Helen Elizabeth Kramp Jensen. As a young child, his family left South Dakota and moved to Oregon for a short while. His memory of that time was blissfully wondrous! He had the chance to drive back for a scenic tour in 2019 and was still overwhelmed by its beauty. However, Darrel was a South Dakotan through and through. He appreciated its rugged magnificence and the farmers, ranchers, and merchants who populated it. 

   Darrel attended grade school and was a proud graduate of Brentford High School. After graduation, Darrel went into the Air Force and used that as a means to garner meaningful growth, education, and experience. His devoted service to his country and boundless curiosity propelled him toward finer aspirations. 

   Darrel married Mary Lynn Pavek on April 21, 1956, in Groton, SD. She said she married him because he looked good in a uniform and could dance - and what a pair they were!! They loved to socialize and trip the light fantastic. 

   Their first home was in Sioux City, IA, where Darrel was stationed in the Air Force and Mary worked on the air base. He was discharged in the autumn of 1956. They moved to Indianapolis, IN; and Darrel worked as an Air Traffic Controller - a job he embraced with unadulterated enthusiasm. He would carry with him a lifelong fascination for aeronautics, and it was the catalyst for him to become a licensed pilot. 

   After two years in Indianapolis, Darrel and Mary Lynn left the excitement of city life and moved to Mary’s quaint little hometown of Claremont, SD. This is where Darrel began his career as a farm implement dealer - selling International Harvester equipment. It was, as Mary said, the happiest time of “living on a shoestring!”

During those years and surrounded by family, their three children were born - Tracy Lynn, David Darrel, and Amy Louise. Family was everything to them!

   So, when presented with a great opportunity to buy and operate the John Deere and Chevrolet dealership in Redfield, SD - at the time, Redfield Sales Company and later Spink County Equipment - Darrel rose to the challenge. In 1965, the family moved to Redfield and made it their forever home. 

   Darrel’s inimitably bright mind, sardonic wit, good nature, endless sincerity, and kind heart served him well in his business endeavors and as a community member. He spoke true and exemplified integrity, diligence, perseverance, compassion, and decency. His positivity was an inspiration to all whose good fortune it was to know him. He was a prince of a guy! 

   Being in business was a natural fit for the gregarious and enthusiastic Darrel. He respected and enjoyed his customers and his employees - quietly going the “extra mile” for any of them. That was his way.

His success was measured in relationships and served as a powerful example of doing things the right way. 

   After retiring in 2004, Darrel and Mary Lynn spent time in Arizona. It was a way for Darrel to find even MORE friends - and they were grateful for the fun, but brief, escape from the brutal SD winters…brief, because Darrel ALWAYS needed to be back for the SD State Basketball Tournaments! Sports were his passion! 

   Darrel and Mary’s favorite pastime was going to watch their children and grandchildren in whatever activity they participated - sports, music, academics - they were there! The support and encouragement they gave to their kids and grands was beyond measure. This deep love for family and friends was remarkably limitless and felt by all who knew Darrel. We love you, Dad ~ sleep well, Sweet Prince! 

   He is survived by his three children - Tracy (Pat Schaffer) Jensen, David (Elizabeth) Jensen, and Amy (Jon Gorham) Jensen, as well as his grandchildren - Drew, Rhett, Brooke, Erin, Sigourney, Jordan, and Max Schaffer,

Alex, Kristen, Erik, and Isabel Jensen, Dagne, Evan, and Will Gorham, and great-grandchildren - Rowan, Katja, Nolan, Brandt, Helena, Leo, Max, Nora, Annlee, Rosie, Isla, and Ellie; his nephews and nieces Jeff, Kim, Chris, and Sarah Stohr, and Sherry Pavek; and his countless dear friends - both old and new! 

   Darrel was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Mary Lynn; his cherished parents, Edward and Helen; an infant brother, Dayle Edwin; his wife’s parents, Stacey and James Pavek; his brother and sister-in-law, Emery and Helen Stohr; Mary’s brother, Stanley and his son, Stan; and many of his old friends, colleagues, and classmates.