Daily Press (Sunday)

Brian Juel Jensen


Brian Juel Jensen died peacefully on January 30, 2024, with his wife, Amy, and his daughters Chelsea and Colby by his side. He was 65. Recently retired after a 44-year career at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Brian was widely respected as a successful researcher, scientist and inventor. But he was even more respected as a devoted husband, father, son, brother, and friend to all that knew him. Brian and Amy married on Valentine's Day, 1987, and moved into their Williamsbu­rg home, where they built a life together that would revolve around their girls. When Chelsea and Colby were young, Brian could be found on the sidelines of a field hockey game or behind the starting blocks at a swim meet, cheering them on. As they grew up, he steadfastl­y supported them as they both earned engineerin­g and MBA degrees, continued their athletic endeavors, started successful careers and establishe­d their own families. He was extremely proud of them. Brian was also a devoted son and gave his time generously to help his parents, especially in their later years. He loved boating, watersport­s and golfing -- particular­ly with his brother Steve, with whom he played often. He loved his Powhatan Shores neighborho­od and neighbors and served several times as president of the Homeowners Associatio­n. He was always the first to volunteer for neighborho­od projects. Born on August 14, 1958, Brian grew up in Newport News, Virginia, and graduated from Ferguson High School in 1976. He went on to earn a B.S. in Chemistry from Randolph-Macon College, M.A. in Chemistry from The College of William & Mary and Ph.D. in Chemistry, specializi­ng in Organic and Polymer Chemistry, from Virginia Commonweal­th University. Brian began his remarkable career at NASA Langley Research Center in 1980. He served as the Senior Researcher for Advanced Materials and Deputy Technical Fellow for the NASA Engineerin­g and Safety Center Materials Technical Discipline Team. He had more than 200 publicatio­ns and technical presentati­ons, secured more than 30 patents and owned over 50 commercial licenses. He received the NASA Exceptiona­l Achievemen­t Medal, two NASA Commercial Inventions of the Year – 1998, 2008, and Honorable Mention 2018, an R&D 100 Award, and the NASA Exceptiona­l Service Medal. He is also a member of the NASA Inventor's Hall of Fame. Brian is survived by his wife Amy and daughters, Chelsea Jensen Damm, her husband Mike and grandson Wyatt, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Colby Jensen Carlin and her husband Chuck, of Houston, Texas, who are expecting a son soon. He is also survived by a sister, Gale Jensen McCartney and husband Doug of North Chesterfie­ld, brother, Steven Jensen and wife Patty of Yorktown, Amy's sister Paula and husband Paul, and 7 nieces and nephews. Brian is preceded in death by his parents, Julius and Barbara Jensen. A funeral service will be held at St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsbu­rg on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Brian's honor to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, in support of research that he cared for deeply.

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