Donald Jansen, as he said many times in recent years, “had a good, happy life”. He spent all the time he could with his wife Irene, whom he adored and loved so much over the years. He spent time with his family whom he told of his pride with their lives. He spent time travelling always with Irene, and sometimes with children and grandchildren in tow. He spent a lot of time skiing and, reading about historical events. He spent time with his children and grandchildren playing ping pong, golfing, skiing, taking car trips to places like Lego Land, and teaching them about business and being thrifty. He spent time valuing and becoming friends with the people he worked with at Sears, and in the community groups he joined. He spent time treating everyone with fairness, respect, and kindness. He had a positive influence on those he came in contact with showing no pretense and demonstrating how to be a good human being, something all of us could only hope to show as we reflect on our time spent on this earth.
Donald Edward Jansen was born in 1927. He knew Irene most of his life but got serious about her when Irene’s boyfriend at the time went into the military and asked Don to “look after her”. He ended up looking after her forever after that with awe-inspiring devotion. He went into the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II, just in time to see the war end a few months later. He graduated with a Market Management degree from the University of Illinois in 1949.
He started working at Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1947 and stayed there for 37 years. He was promoted in several different stores in Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas until he landed in Denver, Colorado, where he found his true home. He never wanted to leave once he started skiing and appreciating the mountains and everything the Denver area had to offer. In Denver, he acted as the Rocky Mountain Group Manager for Sears stores in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. During all of his work career, he treated people with fairness and respect. His family remembers how he seemed to know everyone’s name. They were amazed at one time when at a Dairy Queen, he immediately acknowledged one of many of Sears’ employees with name, familiarity and geniality-that was typical, not an isolated incident. In 1983-84, he served as Exec. Director/President of CACI - Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry.
In his youth, he was a Boy Scout, became an Eagle Scout, and was awarded Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope Awards. He was active in the Boy Scout councils in Springfield, MO, Wichita, KS and Denver, CO. He was active in the various communities he lived in as a Rotary Club member and in the Chamber of Commerce.
The family, according to Don’s wishes, is having a family gathering to share and repeat the funny or touching stories we’ve heard many times amongst ourselves (and hope for a few new ones). He is survived by immediate family: wife, Irene from Denver, CO; brother, Robert (Bob) Jansen from Florida; children, Carol Steinmeyer, Christina Jansen, and Patti Jansen of Denver, Colorado; and Mark Jansen of Leawood, KS. He will join his daughter Gail in eternity before the rest of us join them as well.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Boy Scouts of America at http://aplacetogive.scouting.org/.
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