top of page

Bo Jens

February 19, 1942 - June 4, 2024

Celebration of Life

Bo Jens was born February 19, 1942 in Hamburg, Germany, the only son of Helen (Holzkamm) Jens, and died in Honolulu on June 4, 2024. He leaves a son, Erik, and three grandchildren, Kelsey, Daniel, and Matthew.

Bo spent his early childhood in wartime and post-war Germany. Nearly blinded in one eye by a bombing raid on the hospital where he was being born, he also faced chronic malnutrition in postwar Germany before immigrating with his mother to Long Island, New York, in 1950. He spent the rest of his childhood there, graduating in 1960 from Sewanhaka High School, Long Island, NY.

Bo loved to travel throughout his life. Upon graduating from high school in 1960, he and a friend bicycled from New York to Los Angeles, decades before long-distance cycling became common in America; they camped each night and attracted a good deal of attention from local radio stations and newspapers, as well as several dozen bears along the way. Afterward, Bo spent two years traveling throughout Central and South America before returning to LA, where he met and married Jane Ferris Jens, with whom he had a son. Bo spent ten years in northern California before resuming his world travels, mostly by sailboat. Shipwrecked in 1984 in a storm off the Mexico coast, Bo barely survived, and—as he often related afterward—heard a voice as he regained the beach, telling him to “go to Hawaii.” This he did, and lived in Honolulu for the rest of his life, other than several years working in American Samoa, Australia, and several Pacific islands as a surveyor and civil engineer.

Bo was a triathlete, backpacker, and artist. He was a ranked chess player, an accomplished juggler, and spoke several languages, improving his French up to the end of his life. He could build almost anything out of wood. He loved to learn, and to talk about what he had learned, passing on to his son his love of knowledge and of the outdoors. He might have been far happier as an explorer in past centuries than as a member of our “modern civilization,” but nonetheless he charted his own path throughout his life.

As he once requested, Bo’s ashes were scattered on the Pacific Ocean, on whose waters he spent so much of his life.

Memory Wall

bottom of page