Marvin Eli Jensen was born on December 23, 1926 on a farm in Clay County, Minnesota to John and Inga Jensen and died at the age of 95 on March 30, 2022. His father John emigrated from Norway and his mother Inga’s parents also emigrated from Norway. He spent his early childhood years in Clay County, Minnesota. He attended the Northwest School of Agriculture for two years and enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17 in 1944. He served two years on an aviation supply ship and on a landing ship (LST). He was discharged in 1946. He married the love of his life, Doris Ann Lundberg of Ulen Minnesota in September 1947.
He received a BS degree in agriculture in 1951 and an MS degree in agricultural engineering in 1952 from North Dakota State University (NDSU) where he was on the staff from 1952 to 1955. He received a PhD in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University (CSU) in 1965. From 1955 to 2007 he was employed by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of USDA in Texas, Colorado, Idaho and Maryland. His primary area of research was crop and irrigation water requirements. He traveled internationally extensively as part of his work and received numerous invitations to be a keynote speaker and participate in workshops. While at CSU he served several one-month assignments in Egypt and Sri Lanka. He was elected to a 3-year term as president of the International Commission of Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) in 1984. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988 and to the ARS Science Hall of Fame in 2003. His work in irrigation helped make computerized irrigation scheduling for more efficient crop water use possible.
Marvin Jensen was preceded in death by Doris, his wife of 62 years, his parents, and several brothers and sisters. He is survived by a brother Anton of Ankeny, Iowa and a sister Lillian (Jensen) Wefald of Prior Lake, Minnesota. He is also survived by all three of his children; Connie Heidemann (Bernie Schutte) of Kimberly, Idaho, Jeffrey Jensen (Mary) of Bainbridge Island, Washington and Eric Jensen (Lisa) of Westminster, Maryland as well as grandchildren, great grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
A small internment service will be conducted later this Spring for the immediate family at the Jevnaker Cemetery near Borup, Minnesota. A Celebration of Life will be held in conjunction with a planned family reunion this August in Moorhead, Minnesota. In lieu of flowers or gifts the family requests that contributions be made to the Marvin and Doris Jensen Endowment Fund #20366 at P.O. Box 5144 Fargo, ND. Contact: (701)231-6800.