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Funeral services will take place on Saturday, September 23, 2023 at 1:00 PM (Central).

Community Events Center
White River, South Dakota

White River Cemetery
White River, South Dakota

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In memory of

Barry M. Jensen

of White River, South Dakota, died on Sunday, September 17, 2023 in Rapid City at the age of 78

Barry Marlin Jensen was born August 13, 1945, in Kadoka, South Dakota on the son of William and Agnes (Stromer) Jensen of White River. Barry lived his entire life at the Jensen ranch north west of White River with the exception of a few years while he attended college. Barry attended all 12 years of school at White River Public school graduating with his high school class of 1963. He attended college at SDSU for two years before transferring to Kansas State University where he graduated with a degree in science and agriculture.

Barry married his high school classmate and sweetheart Katie (Kathryn Mickel) in 1965 and they lived in Manhattan, Kansas for the next three years while earning their college degrees. Their oldest daughter Wendy was born in Kansas.

Following graduation, they moved back to South Dakota to go into the ranching business with his parents. That next fall the White River School found themselves without a science teacher and so that following year Barry was asked to teach all science classes until a science teacher could be located. Ironically, it took four years. Many of his former students were his good friends. It was during these years that their second daughter Katie Kristine (Krisi) was born in 1970 and their youngest daughter Paige LeAnn was born in 1975.

Barry retired from teaching and returned to ranching full time when his parents began to spend their winters in Arizona. He has continued to run the Jensen Cattle Corporation ranch up to the present day.

Barry was a role model alumnus of White River High School. He served on the Board of Education for a number of years. His name appears on the bronze plaque in the foyer declaring the dedication of this very gymnasium. He organized the first Tiger Booster Club. In 2000 he was instrumental in organizing the school alumni association which is still very active today. He served as its first chairman and in that position, he organized four all school reunions. In 2013 he enjoyed his 50th class reunion when his 1963 classmates were recognized at the spring Commencement.

While Barry and Katie were raising their family, their children were very involved in school and community activities. During those days, Barry volunteered as a church youth group leader, he was Associate Guardian for Bethel 33 of White River Job’s Daughters, judged many rodeo queen contests and announced at the local 4-H rodeos for several years. Back in the day these rodeos lasted from sun up to sun down even utilizing two arenas. He rarely missed a basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, rodeo, track or music event that his daughters participated in.

Barry was very civic minded. He served as a Mellette County commissioner. He was elected as a legislator representing District 26 to the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2001 and again in 2005 where he served on the Judiciary committee among others.

Barry also enjoyed Board work. He felt that a well-organized Board, with good managerial leadership, could effectively run a successful company. Barry served on the Board of Directors with the following corporations: Country Pride Coop of Winner, SD, Farmland Industries and the Cooperative Finance Association both of Kansas City, Missouri, Southern Plains Behavioral Health of Winner, SD, Missouri Valley Insurance Company of Burke, SD, and South Dakota organizations of Cooperatives when in 2010 he was inducted into the SD Cooperative Hall of Fame. Additionally. Barry was appointed by Governor Daugaard to the South Dakota Game, Fish, & Parks and served as commissioner until his commission expired. Barry left footprints all across South Dakota.

Barry is a member of the White River Masonic Lodge #181 of White River, The Order of Eastern Star #126 of White River and the White River United Methodist Church. Barry’s church was very important to him. He served in many different capacities from Ad Council chairman to trustee to singing in the choir. He attended regularly and when he fell ill his church family stepped up to help him celebrate his 78th birthday with cards, pictures and a singing video. He loved his church.

Throughout the years, Barry enjoyed his children and grandchildren’s activities, NASCAR racing, traveling, cruising, motorcycles, flying his airplane, sports, especially Kansas State University sports, and being outdoors on the ranch. Fall was his favorite time of year. Barry and Katie traveled across the pond on three occasions. Once to visit granddaughter Angel who was going to school in London, another time with K-State college friends on a Mediterranean cruise. And in 2017 Barry, Katie and their entire family traveled to Denmark. Arriving in Copenhagen and traveling across Denmark to the ancestral home of his great-grandfather Morten Jensen in Olgod, Denmark.

And another story: Barry’s parents bought him a car when he was near graduation from college at K-State University. Not just any car, but a Pontiac GTO. He got involved with drag racing that GTO and never told his parents. Many years later he fessed up and showed his parents his trophies after it was all said and done.

Barry is survived by his wife Katie of 58 years, three daughters Wendy (Dan) Conrad of Rapid City, Katie (Doug) Bates of Rapid City, and Paige (Bill) Kelly of Milton, Georgia; eight grandchildren; Angel Spreen, Molly (Bruce) Miller, Taylor (Ashley) Bates, Luke (Morgan) Bates, Samantha Bates, Berkeley Bates, William Kelly Jr., Jensen Kelly; other family include Kip Jensen, Beverly Jensen, Mike Dimond and family, Janel Krogman (Robert) and family, Todd Krogman (Amy) and family, Dana Krogman, the extended Lester Stromer family, Bud Stromer, and Kenny Kingsbury families, several cousins and many friends.

Barry was preceded in death by his parents, brother Clifford and sister Janet; niece Lindy Krogman; and nephews Mark, Troy, Bill Jensen.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held 1:00 p.m. Saturday, September 23, at the Community Events Center in White River.

Interment will follow at the White River Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to Mellette County Community Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

Saturday, September 23, 2023 - 1:00 p.m.
Community Events Center
White River, South Dakota

Pastor Cheryl Nymann - Pastor Linda Baldock

Methodist Church Choir
"On Eagles Wings"
Linda Harrison - Vocalist
"I Can Only Imagine"

Barry's Grandchildren:
Angelica Spreen - Taylor Bates - Molly Miller
Luke Bates - Samantha Bates - Berkeley Bates
William Kelly, Jr. - Jensen Kelly

White River Cemetery
White River, South Dakota

Mellette County Community Foundation
and the American Cancer Society

  • Barry and I were best of friends through grade and high school. I recall the he and I often would walk about a half mile north of his home to an old deserted bard to shoot mice. Between out Jr/Sr school year we rode scooters from White River to Kadoka, Wall, Rapid City, Custer and back to White River. I think it was a 3-day event. Great fun! ~ Loren Hiatt Sioux Falls (10/23/2023)
  • I always looked forward to seeing you and Barry at the high school reunion, I always appreciated what you folks did to keep the reunion alive and make every one feel welcome. It was great seeing you at Menards at Rapid City, I remember Barry telling me that he was having issues with cancer at that time. Barry like to joke about how I had a special Nak for being late, I know I must have made him wonder how I had a 30 year career in the United States Air Force. ~ Leroy Hix 311 Willow Drive, Box Elder,sd (9/25/2023)
  • Barry Jensen was one of nicest, kindest legislators I ever knew. ~ Frank Kloucek Scotland South Dakota (9/24/2023)
  • I was so sad to hear of Barry's passing and regret that I was not able to attend his memorial service. Barry was my biology and science teacher at WRHS in 1969-1970 and he had a great ability to teach and inspire at the same time. It was because of his influence that I went on to obtain my BS in Biological Sciences at SDSU. I always looked up to him as a role model and a friend. He was a great South Dakotan and will be deeply missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Barry's family as our my deepest sorrow and condolences. ~ Ron Frederick Mission, SD (9/24/2023)
  • I am sorry to hear of Barry's passing. I met him during his time running for office and serving in the South Dakota Legislature. While I didn't know him well, his kindness and leadership made an impression on me. Prayers to your family as you remember a life well lived. ~ Laura Schoen Carbonneau Brandon, SD (9/21/2023)
  • I am so sorry to hear of this. My thoughts and prayers to you, Katie, and your family ~ Joan Kerns Mitchell, SD (9/20/2023)
  • So sorry for your loss. Enjoyed visiting with Barry anytime I was in White River he will be Greatly missed. Prayers for all the Families ~ Bonnie Madsen Kadoka South DakotaSo (9/19/2023)