IDAHO FALLS — A local baker and beloved member of the community passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.
Randy Jensen, owner of Baker’s Dozen in Idaho Falls, died at his home Sunday, April 18. He was 70. The official cause of death has not been released.
Mandi Paynter, Jensen’s oldest daughter, tells EastIdahoNews.com her dad was a hardworking, giving man who was always helping others.
“He was the hardest working man I’ve ever known. He worked from before the sun came up to sundown,” Paynter says.
Jensen was born September 15, 1950, in Blackfoot to Boyd Victor Jensen and Lillie Mae Farnsworth Hatley. He was the oldest child of three children, including a brother, Ricky, and two sisters, Laurie and LeAnn.
“He loved his siblings and always tried to be the best big brother that he could be,” his obituary says.
Jensen attended high school in the Snake River School District, where he lettered in the lightweight division of the wrestling team. He graduated high school in 1968 and attended Ricks College for one year.
He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Maryland-Delaware area. In 1971, he married his high school sweetheart, Peggy Thompson, in the Idaho Falls Temple. They had two children, a daughter, Mandi Jo, and a son, Kristoffer James.
“Randy loved his children and was very proud to be their dad,” his obituary says.
Paynter says she was particularly close to her dad and appreciates the special memories she has with him.
“He helped me buy a couple of horses when I was younger. He saved up a five-gallon water jug of pennies and we sat and rolled pennies until we had the money to buy horses,” Paynter recalls. “He never denied me any animal or pet I wanted as long as I took care of it.”
Paynter recalls a time when her mom had surgery and he asked her and her brother what he could bring home for them as a gift. Her brother requested a candy bar and she requested a guinea pig, which they both got.
“My little brother asked, ‘Why did she get that?’ My dad said, ‘Well, she asked for it,'” Paynter says.
Jensen began his career as an apprentice baker at Buttery’s Bakery in 1973. He became well-known as “The Baker Man” who made the best pastries and bread in town. He owned several bakeries over the years but is perhaps best remembered as the owner of Baker’s Dozen, which he opened in 2011 at 561 South Woodruff in Idaho Falls.
“He loved to put a smile on people’s faces,” Paynter says. “I was reading comments (on the Baker’s Dozen Facebook page) a little while ago where he had closed for the day and a gal with young children came to the shop and saw that it was closed. They were disappointed and he invited them in and gave them free doughnuts.”
A Tuesday morning post on the Baker’s Dozen Facebook page about Jensen’s passing had been shared 141 times and had more than 220 comments as of Tuesday afternoon. All of the messages speak highly of Jensen and his doughnut shop.
“Love this man,” one person wrote. “Our store … was by his shop over seven years. In that time we got to know Randy and he was an amazing man and quickly became a friend of ours.”
“I am so sorry to hear of Randy’s passing,” another person wrote. “Bakers Dozen is an institution in Idaho Falls and Randy was the master at the helm.”
Paynter says the bakery will remain closed until further notice and whether or not it reopens has not been determined.
Jensen experienced joy, happiness, and some heartache in his 70 years on this earth. He and Thompson divorced in 1989 and Jensen later remarried twice.
“His friends and people who love him are endless. He loved his stepchildren and always tried to be a good example for them,” his obituary says.
In addition to his work as a baker, Jensen was a reserve deputy with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. He also volunteered with Idaho State Police, according to his son, Kristoffer, and worked with Bonneville County’s Division of Motor Vehicles.
Paynter says her dad worked diligently until the end, and never stopped doing what he loved to do. She is going to miss him for his legacy of giving to others and his dedication to giving his best efforts in everything he did.
“He was dedicated at … providing the best services he could in helping people, not only in work-related issues but in personal lives. He was just always so giving,” says Paynter.
Jensen leaves behind his siblings, two children, five grandchildren, multiple nieces and nephews, step-children and many friends he has made throughout his lifetime.
Private family services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 24. Services will be streamed online. A public viewing will be held Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wood Funeral Home in Idaho Falls.