GENE JENSEN (1928-2004)

A canoeing legend late has died --
    At the age of 75;
He grew up on the town's north side,
    Where Mississippi paddling thrived.


As a boy he'd paddle anything --
    From homemade boats to rafts and logs --
Which to a sawmill he would bring --
    For quarters would he water slog.


He often paddled in a race* --
    Four hundred and fifty mile,
And was four times he took first place,
    And developed a racing style.


He came up with the signal "hut"
    And invented the bent-shaft paddle,
But best known for designs he cut
    For the racing boats astraddle.


A half a dozen boat makers
    Have built canoes along his lines,
And a dozen undertakings
    Have We-no-nah and Gene combined.


The Jensen name is known world-wide --
    On the finest racing bows --
In fact, 3 "Jensens" I have plied
    With the "old lady" in the prow.


And soon, upon the 6th of June --
    At noon, up north in Brooklyn Park,
His ashes on the river strewn
    Upon the shoals he made his mark.

George Kittell

*Minneapolis Aquatennial: Bemidji to Minneapolis




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