MADISON—Eric Bjorn Jensen died Sept. 13, 2019, after a year-long battle with liver cancer. He was cared for by his loving family until the end. He is survived by his four children, Joe, Jake, Jane and Jimmy; his wife, Jodi; his parents, Norm and Nancy Jensen; his brother, Jeff (Sara); and many loving nephews, cousins and other relatives and dear friends. Eric will be deeply missed. He was born at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital in Great Lakes, Ill., on Feb. 20, 1968, and raised as a Madisonian through and through. He attended the Montessori Children’s House, Falk Elementary School, Orchard Ridge Middle School, and James Madison Memorial High School in Madison. He proudly swam for the Memorial Spartans, and spent many years swimming and coaching at Ridgewood Pool.
Eric continued his swimming career briefly at the UW Madison, where he received his BA in Political Science, and later a JD from the UW Law School. He spent a memorable junior year studying abroad and swimming at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England. He was an avid Badger fan from a young age, and spent some of his youth working at the Big Ten Pub, where his large group of friends would meet to take in the games.
After law school, Eric practiced law and later worked in government relations for the Wisconsin Medical Society. He found his calling when he became the Executive Director for the Wisconsin Beer Distributors, a role he proudly held for the past eighteen years. Eric also lobbied on behalf of and represented many physician groups and other clients. His family and friends witnessed Eric first develop and refine his “gift of gab” during his years as a bartender, and later watched as he parlayed that gift, together with his keen interest in the law and politics, to become a passionate and effective professional advocate for the clients he humbly served to the very end.
Beyond a doubt, Eric’s greatest passion was his four children. Nothing made him happier than cheering them on at soccer, basketball, karate, and especially at swim meets. He felt lucky to have seen all four of his kids participate together in this summer’s All City Swim Meet. Eric’s enthusiasm was infectious. He was so proud of, and so loved his kids.
Eric fought his cancer privately, with great courage. Our hearts are broken to have to say goodbye. We will remember the way he made us laugh, his unsurpassed skills on the jet ski and at the grill, the joy he felt on the golf course, the passion he brought to watching the Packers or Badgers play, his love of strange and fun cars, and the way his smile would light up a room.
A memorial in Eric’s honor will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, at 3:30 p.m., with visitation beginning at 12:30 p.m., at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison 53705. A reception for guests will be held immediately following the memorial service at the Madison Club, 5 East Wilson Street, Madison 53703.
In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family recommends that contributions be made in Eric’s honor to the UW Carbone Cancer Center, specifically identifying “cholangiocarcinoma research” within the GI Cancer Research Fund, at 600 Highland Avenue, K4/658, Madison, WI 53792-6164, or to a charity of your choosing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson says “it is not the length of life, but the depth of life.” Eric’s life ended too soon, but it had great depth. All of us that knew and loved him were so very lucky to have shared in his journey.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Services
3610 Speedway Road
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