Jens Harboe died peacefully September 17, 2015 with Ellen, the love of his life and his wife of 65 years, by his side. He was 90 years old. Jens lived a long, full and colorful life.
Jens was born and raised in Denmark and attended Soro Academy. In 1949, at the age of 24, he immigrated to the United States. He found work at the Coachella Valley Feed Yard in Thermal California. There he fell in love with the wide open spaces and potential for professional growth. He returned to Denmark in 1950 to marry Ellen and bring her back to Coachella Valley.
In 1952 Jens started HMS, Harboe Management Service, a premier ranch management company in the valley. Later he was involved in many real estate development projects including the HMS plazas on El Paseo in Palm Desert. Jens was active in the community, which included being president of the Indio Chamber of Commerce and many other civic organizations. He was very influential in the growth of the valley.
One of Jens’ greatest passions was music, especially jazz. Although not a professional, he was an accomplished pianist. It was music that was the platform for his creative genius and intellect. Our home was filled with music from Jens alone working through a new series of chords to his gathering of a few musicians on an afternoon for an impromptu jam session.
In 1984 Jens and Ellen moved to Orcas Island, Washington. He loved his life here, continuing to manage his business investments. He walked daily, stopping for his morning coffee and a chat with his friends and wonderful staff at the Orcas Village Store.
Because of the excellent and kind caregiving services of Ginger Moore and her staff, Jens was able to stay at the home he loved to the very end.
Jens, together with Ellen, brought not only jazz, but art, culture, laughter, and hospitality into our lives. He had a huge presence in our family, in the lives of our friends and in business. He will not be forgotten. Though he became very private in his old age, he cared deeply for his friends and family.
Jens is survived by his wife Ellen; four children, Peter and wife Lell Harboe, Stina Harboe and husband Craig Grimm, Ria Harboe and husband Alan Shaw and Poul Harboe and special friend Lene Thomsen, as well as six grandchildren and two great grandchildren
The family will be gathering privately at a later date to celebrate his life just the way Jens would want.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations can be made to the Orcas Family Health Center or the Orcas Senior Center.