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Judy Jensen

Judy Jensen

Judy Jensen was part of the Rivers for Change family from the moment she became involved with the Cal 100. She was not only a key volunteer for Rivers for Change in those early days, but was on the Board of Directors as our amazing Treasurer from 2014-2017. Judy gave her heart and soul to RFC’s activities and helped shape some of the amazing programs and events that we run today. She played a key role in creating the Gorge Downwind Championship and Paddle Fest, an incredible event which has grown into one of the biggest races in North America, and one which generously supports RFC and the work we do. Judy helped form and structure our Source to Sea School Ambassador Program to connect and inspire the next generation of river stewards. And she worked tirelessly at events near and far, including helping at the Cal 100 with registration and awards even after paddling in the race herself!

She was the woman who made things happen both on and off the water. An amazing coordinator, doer of all things that ever needed to get done, and the finest maker of Excel spreadsheets one could ever meet. On the water, she blew our minds time and time again with her strength and perseverance and even became the inspiration for the Cal 100 logo! For so many of us, too, Judy was a mentor, an inspiration and a hero, leading by example (because who could ever catch up with her) but always taking the time and effort to bring others along. She was a joyful addition to the RFC community and family and she will be dearly missed.

In her memory, Rivers for Change is setting up the Judy Jensen Memorial Fund so that her spirit may paddle, educate and connect people to rivers with us each and every year. Funds will be used specifically toward the Source to Sea School that she helped create, in support of our student ambassadors.

Judith “Judy” Barker Jensen, 51, of Truckee, CA, passed away on January 13, 2019, after a 2 year battle with cancer. Judy was born in Hammond, IN, to John G. and Carol Barker, and married David F. Jensen on May 1, 2010. She earned a BS in Science from Purdue University, and a MBA from DePaul University. Judy’s career concluded with 20 years of consumer electronics product management in Silicon Valley.

Judy loved the beauty of the outdoors and the water. She was a competitive swimmer through high school and remained active as a masters swimmer. Judy then moved from the pool to the open water, transforming into an endurance athlete in paddling – honing her skills in canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. She enjoyed paddling recreationally and competitively at local and national levels. Not one to sit still, her recent move to the mountain home served as a base to support her various outdoor passions and it was a fantastic reason for many family and friends to come visit. Her cooking was just an added bonus. Despite the cancer, Judy and Dave continued to adventure to beautiful places in their beloved VW campervan.

Just Judy 378

Judy is survived by her husband David Jensen, mother Carol Barker; siblings Gerald W, Thomas M, Jeanne (Michael) Aronoff, John J (Dana), and Katherine (Euan Henderson); in-laws Nancy (Robert) Oelsner, and James (Sharon) Jensen; many nieces and nephews who were loved dearly. She was preceded in death by her father John G. Barker.

Family and friends can gather starting at 1pm on Sunday, Jan 20th at Redwood Chapel, 847 Woodside Rd, Redwood City, CA. A memorial service will start at 3pm and will be followed by a reception.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Judy’s name to the American Cancer Society, Rivers for Change (, or charity of your choice would be greatly appreciated.

Judy Jensen Memorial Fund

(Please put Judy in the memo or notes section. If there isn’t one, drop us a quick line and we’ll be sure to correctly attribute your contribution to you).

If you’d like to donate in memory of Judy Jensen beloved friend, volunteer, and Board Member of Rivers for Change your donation will go towards the program which she helped create and was close to her heart; connecting, teaching, paddling with, and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards to rivers through our Source to Sea School. In loving memory, she will paddle with us every year as we run this program.

Judy Barker Jensen

A few more photos of Judy with RFC can be found: On the RFC facebook page

If you’re a Bay Area local, there will be a Paddle Out and Potluck in Judy’s memory on April 13th from CCK in Redwood City. More info, RSVP and potluck signup on Facebook.