May 11, 1928 – June 27, 2020
We have lost our Great Dane. Alf departed this world on June 27th, at age 92, to join in spirit those who had gone before him.
Not surprisingly cremation was chosen by Alf as he was ever drawn to the heat of Mexican winters and was often known to recite all the verses of the Cremation of Sam McGee.
His love of Mexico and travel was a constant companion and Alf and Phoebe were true snowbirds, leaving Tofino long before the first snowflakes fell on those high mountain passes. A post card here …a letter there…but we always knew they were in good hands with their Mexican friends, and like the geese they followed they would always return home in April to Tofino and another life.
Alf came to Canada as a young traveler: a machinist fresh from the Danish Navy with just his tools and a desire for freedom and a way of life that this large new country might offer.
He was drawn to the West Coast for work but Tofino became his home after losing an appendix but gaining a nurse for a wife after a lengthy stay at the Tofino hospital. Soon after his recovery and marriage to Phoebe, new occupations followed …… fishing and family: Leonard, Leah and Bernard, who all speak Spanish and have fished the West Coast.
In those early days it was man versus nature versus fish, and the hope that at the end of a long season there would be enough funds to travel once more to sunny Mexico. He loved being on the ocean and was most comfortable in the age of real people doing real things in a world where you could fix anything yourself if it broke. As for the fishing it wasn’t so much about the catch as the stories told and friendships forged on the high seas.
Alf’s letters home to his mother and sister Ellen and their extended families talked about his new life in Tofino and continued back and forth for decades. With only one visit to Denmark in 2004, after 50 years away, there was much to catch up on and many new family members to meet.
Phoebe, Chris, Harold and Leonard were all delighted by the not-to-be-missed attraction of Lego Land. The trip to his home country was over all too soon and many years later he said how his desire to follow his dreams to a new land was everything and more than he had hoped for.
We wish that we could have had one last big birthday dinner with Alf, one where all his friends and family would gather around the big table to celebrate him and his long life. Covid, unfortunately, had other plans and it was not to be.
The family would like to thank many Tofino friends for their kindness over the years, especially our wonderful neighbours Arnold, Donald, Arnie, Dominic, Ole, Scott, Russell and Chris so Alf could live his last winters in comfort and keep a keen eye on the seas from his window seat.
Special thanks and gratitude go to many Health Care Professionals in the Tofino Hospital, Tonquin Clinic and The Pharmacy. Some individuals include:
Occupational Therapist Jennifer who always had suggestions for new equipment that might make everyday life easier.
Vancouver Island Health Nurses Craig, Fred, Kimberly, Susannah, Emily and Andrew whose frequent visits and check-ins made his last years comfortable and connected him to the outside world.
And finally, Dr. John Armstrong, whose home visits over many years provided both excellent professional care and a special personal touch.
Without them all it would not have been possible for Alf to spend his final days in the home he built and loved.
So we join with you to celebrate a life well lived and savoured. We will truly miss Alf’s stories and his unique way of looking at life. We will always be connected by our memories.
The Jensen Family: Phoebe, Leonard, Leah (John) and Bernard (sons Dylan and Jaime).
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