Published: November 7, 2006
Frank C. Jensen, 71, an antique furniture restoration and woodworking expert, died October 28 at his home here after a battle with cancer. He was a longtime resident of Woodbury, Conn., before moving to Corea in 2000.
Mr Jensen was born in Jersey City, N.J., in 1935, the son of Fred and Virginia (Miller) Jensen. He is survived by is wife, Carmen Jensen, who served as the chair of the Newtown High School English department for 21 years. He is also survived by his one brother, John Jensen, of Worthington, Ohio; his one son, James, of Bardstown, Ky.; two step-daughters, Lee Holsbury of Danbury, Conn., and Elizabeth Jensen Collins of Durango, Colo., and two grandchildren, Melanie and AJ Collins of Durango.
Mr Jensen was most well known for his distinguished and versatile knowledge and woodworking skills relating to antiques, their restoration, repair and reproduction as well as being an antiques dealer himself. In addition, as a skilled woodworker and cabinetmaker, he designed and built many kitchens, vanities and hutches in the Eighteenth Century cabinet and cupboard style. He also built countless pieces of furniture both as original pieces and as reproductions. For his talents with colors and finishes, he was sought after for repairs, as well as for exotic wood-graining finishes on his cabinetry, which copied styles from the Colonial and Federal periods.
Mr Jensen grew up on City Island in New York. He apprenticed to his father and grandfather, who were master watch and clock makers and owned a store in New York City selling and repairing watches, clocks and jewelry for 80 years before the building was removed to make way for the World Trade Center. After attending some college and seeing service as a paratrooper during and following the Korean Conflict, Mr Jensen went to work in New York for a ship chandlery firm, which outfitted and supplied the many ships arriving and departing from New York’s then-busy harbor.
Changing firms, he expanded on his innate design and engineering talents to create and sell high-end kitchens, often for clients on Park Avenue. He also took on corporate projects, designing office kitchens and cafeterias for national and international customers. Mr Jensen later lived in Quaker Hill, N.Y., and served as national sales manager for commercial furniture for Hunt Country Furniture in Wingdale, N.Y. At Hunt, he developed and sold restaurant and institutional furniture, often times helping design the décor in which the furniture would go.
After nearly 23 years in the corporate sales world, Mr Jensen chose to quit and turn his attention to expanding on his childhood woodworking hobby. Having been a boat-builder and a fixer of furniture in his youth, Mr Jensen started his own furniture repair business. With his love for antiques and his skill in repairing what he himself bought, his reputation spread in the antiques world and soon he was sought-after for exacting repairs as well as making new pieces look old.
Mr Jensen retired to Corea, where he continued to expand on his talents, completing a number of special commissions for reproduction antique furniture for dealers and customers in the Connecticut area. His artist’s skills well established, he would often make whimsical folk art pieces, particularly in a maritime mode.
Mr Jensen’s greatest hobby, however, was to impart his wealth of knowledge to the many young people who often sought his advice and counsel. Even clients would receive lessons on finish and painting techniques.
A memorial gathering will take place in Corea on June 17, 2007. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Hancock County, 14 McKenzie Avenue, Ellsworth ME 04604.
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