Cover photo for Ronald C. Jensen's Obituary
Ronald C. Jensen Profile Photo
1938 Ronald 2024

Ronald C. Jensen

July 19, 1938 — February 12, 2024

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Ronald C. Jensen, DVM.  Ron, or “Swede” as many knew him, passed away at home unexpectedly from a sudden heart attack on February 12th, 2024 after returning home from a pleasurable holiday weekend with his family.

Ron touched so many people’s lives with his generosity, kindness, strength, and humility.  He was a devoted family man who cherished his grandson. He was a sports enthusiast and was a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. Ron’s warm personality inspired admiration and respect from all who knew him. He always saw the best in people.
Ron attended the University of Nebraska for his pre-vet and Iowa State University (ISU) where he received his DVM in 1962. He was also president of the senior veterinary class, a member of the student council and of Delta Upsilon fraternity. He completed a newly established graduate course in Clinical Sciences with a specialty in equine anesthesiology and received his MS degree in 1963.
Ron’s career spanned more than four decades, he was a leader in the world of equine medicine and racing regulation. His career started as the Illinois State Veterinarian for thoroughbred racetracks in the Chicago area until his first retirement in 1997. This is where he was known as “Doc Jensen.” He then served as Equine Medical Director at UC Davis until his second retirement in 2007. It was a university posting funded by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) and was the liaison between the veterinary medical school, the Board, and the horse racing industry. He then spent 10 years working with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Safety and Integrity Alliance Accreditation Inspections Team of 21 thoroughbred racetracks in ten states and one Canadian Province. Ron had a very progressive outlook towards the use and abuse of horses in racing, long before it became current accepted practice. He understood the intricate balance between the sport of horse racing and putting the health and welfare of the horse first .
Throughout his career, he participated in regulatory aspects of thoroughbred horse racing. He was a board member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and an advisor for the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) and the Association of Racing Commissioners (ARCI). He was a scientific advisor of the Grayson Jockey Club and a member of the American Horse Council (AHC) Health and Welfare Committee. He was a founding member of the International Group of Specialists Racing Veterinarians (IGSRV) and served as president and treasurer. Ron’s involvement in international organizations included amazing work trips worldwide.
In his post retirement life, Ron was a member of the Davis Kiwanis Club, and participated fully in programs of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) of UC Davis. In December 2023, the Jensen’s moved from their Mace Ranch home to University Retirement Community, not far from their daughters.
Ron’s life was a remarkable journey from humble farmhouse beginnings to becoming a revered and influential figure in equine medicine internationally. Ron leaves behind a legacy of authenticity and eternal optimism.
Ron is survived by his wife of 55 years, Cheryl Jensen (nee Mullins), daughter Julie Jensen, daughter Kristen Pereira, son-in-law Marcus Pereira, and grandson Tiago Jensen Pereira and nephew Robert Andersen and niece Betty Jo Deck and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Chris and Clara Jensen of Winside, Nebraska.

A private funeral was held on February 26, 2024 at the Davis Cemetery.

A Celebration of Life will be held on April 7, 2024 at El Macero Country Club in Davis, CA from 1 o’clock to 4 o’clock in the afternoon

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to support students at:

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine DVM scholarship students https://give.ucdavis.edu/go/RonJensen

College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University student scholarships. https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1463/giving/interior.aspx?sid=1463&gid=1&pgid=2309&cid=7516&dids=334.129.671.14.673.320&sort=1&bledit=1&appealcode=35VMOL

Kiwanis Club of Davis Foundation, P.O. Box 2122, Davis, CA 95617 Tax ID 84-1927048

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