Neldon and Diane Jensen were raised in Salem, moved away, and now they are back. Diane is the daughter of Howard and Lois Roper. She was born in the same house she grew up in on 500 East. She had three brothers and two sisters, and she was second to the oldest. Neldon is the son of Joe and Effie Jensen. He was born in California. His parents moved around and when he was in the ninth or tenth grade they settled in Salem. He had two brothers and three sisters. He was the fourth child. Diane is 74 and Neldon will be 80 in October. They have been married for 55 years this month.
After high school Diane went to Salt Lake and worked as a PBX Operator. Neldon joined the Navy and was on active duty for five years. Then he served in the Navy Reserves for 20 years. It wasn't until he returned home form active duty that he met Diane at the old First Ward Church on Main Street. She and her cousin would sit behind him. At age 19 she married Neldon and they moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where Neldon was a Dictaphone service repairman. They moved back to Utah and he went to work at DelMonte Cannery in the peas. Neldon had been an aircraft electrician in the Navy so he applied at Hill Air Force Base. After several applications he found out that they were always received back at Hill a day or two late. The next notice he hand delivered to the Base and he was hired as an aircraft electrician. Shortly after that there was a reduction in force and he was put behind a desk. As promotions came along he was put over the Minute Man Missiles which he enjoyed. Neldon retired after 35 years at Hill Air Force Base.
They lived in Woods Cross during this time and were raising a family of five children, three boys and two girls who now live from South Salt Lake to Vancouver, Washington. Neldon was involved as a coach of Little League Baseball for 13 years, and Diane helped with the bookis for it. They took several teams to tournament. Diane said Neldon loved it when the team member's little brothers or sisters would come up to him and say "Hi Coach". He was able to coach his own sons all through Little League. Thy both said if if you wanted to get involved in the community, get involved in the athletics and sports of the community. You get to know the people.
Diane worked for an insurance company in Salt Lake for 20 years having to commute form Salem the last three years. They moved back to Salem in 1993 building a beautiful log home on the Roper family farm. Neldon finished the inside of it himself. He deided he wanted to garden and he grows a wonderful garden and gives a lot of it away. Diane said one of the fun things they do at Christmas time is to give jams and jellies they have canned during the year to their married grandchildren.
Neldon served on the Salem City Planning and Zoning Committee for several years and Diane said she supported him in this. They were the first ones to start writing the Senior Spotlight.
Diane likes to crochet, quilt (although she has slowed down with this), loves to cook and she loves, loves, loves her kindle as she loves to read. Neldon loves to garden and is a member of the American Mountain Man Association. He re-loads his own shells, ties flies, enjoys fishing with the friend he grew up with, Stan Riding. When their children were younger they would attend the Mountain Man Rendezvous in Fort Bridger, Wyoming, staying in their own tepee. Neldon made all his leather clothes, does Indian bead work, makes "Possible Bags" and Scout Survival bags for his sons and grandsons. Diane said the Possible Bags are called that because you can put anything possible in them. He has done some beautiful bead work on the Strike Light bags he makes to put his flint, steel and tinder in.
Diane likes all food and likes to experiment with foods. Neldon's favorite food is chicken noodle, with homemade noodles like his mother used to make.
She said being raised as kids and teenagers in Salem was a fun, fun time. They both remember water skiing on Salem Pond; the pond freezing over and ice skatin on it. Diane said as you grow up you want to get out of town and into the world, but once you see what a neat town you left you want to come back. They have never regretted coming back.
We wish you a happy anniversary.
Senior Spotlight, Salem City Newsletter, March 2015, p 3