David  Jessen
David  Jessen
David  Jessen

Obituary of David Harold Jessen

David H. Jessen

4/2/1944 - 12/1/2023 


David Harold Jessen passed away Friday, December 1st 2023, after a courageous fight with pancreatic cancer.  

He was born to Henry and Marie Jessen of Paradise, California on April 2nd 1944. 

As a youngster, he and his older brother Jarry became Boy Scouts, spending as much time as possible exploring “The Ridge”, learning important life skills, making new friends and earning badges. He spoke of collecting apples by the bushel at Noble Orchard. 

In Mid 1951, at the age 7, David was blessed with a cute, little sister named Cynthia (Cindy), followed by his little brother Peter in 1955. 

Starting in 1958, as construction was completed on the new Paradise High School, David and his classmates were the first to attend all four grades 9-12, and he was also a Lightweight on the Wrestling team.  

In 1962, after graduating high school, he began a life long career as a machinist and welder. He regularly hitched a ride to work at Jeffrey Brothers in Chico, from his uncle and mentor, Leslie Abshier, who lived right up the street.  

David married Suzanne Bea Thomas in Reno, NV in 1977 and their beautiful family of 8 was formed. Already having two children, Michael and Teresa (from his previous marriage to Patricia Lewis in 1964), David joined Suzanne and her four children, Melinda, Julie, Keri and Suzie.  

While living in Reno he refined his skills as a master machinist, and also became an expert welder. For enjoyment he fabricated dune buggy and dragster frames and rebuilt Volkswagen engines. David also put his creations to the test and excelled at sand drag racing. In 1976 he won the Sand National Hill Climb Championship at Pismo Beach, with his 2180cc sand rail dune buggy. 

David and family moved to Durham, California in 1979 where he lived until the time of his death.  

In Durham, David partnered with his uncle, Lloyd Abshier and cousin, Steven Abshier, working in his grandfather Lawrence's century old, Abshier and Son Blacksmithing, Welding and Machine shop. 

Dedicated to serving his community, David became an active member of the Durham Rotary Club and their fight against Polio. He faithfully volunteered in High School fundraising events such as Crab Feeds & the Harvest Festivals for the past 42 years.  

David and Suzanne also graciously opened their home to, and hosted Foreign Exchange students from Sweden and Japan.  

He was honored to serve as Rotary Club President in 1999 and again in 2018. 

 Additionally, David organized and assisted in providing support to families displaced by the Camp Fire. 

As a father, grandfather and mentor, David loved to share his knowledge, always instilling integrity and a strong work ethic, while bringing comic relief with his fun-loving sense of humor. He enjoyed creating very interesting meals, like…chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter and Root Beer on top, for example. 

He was a superb marksman and an avid outdoorsman, and spent much of his “off time” pursuing family adventures like traveling, camping, site seeing, fishing, hunting, and horseback trail riding with his life partner Suzanne. 

Through faith and the grace of our Heavenly Father, David’s pain has been taken away and he is ready to be reunited in spirit with Suzanne in the Promised Land.  

David was preceded in death this year by his wife of 47 years, Suzanne, and his older brother Jarry Jessen (Dixie Jessen) of Hermiston OR.  

He is survived by his sister Cindy Bethard of Dayton CA, brother Peter Jessen (Margie Jessen) of Durham, son Michael Jessen (Tami Jessen) of Magalia, daughter Melinda Jenkins (Chuck Jenkins) of Durham, daughter Julie Sears (Boyd Sears IV) of Chico, daughter Teresa Jessen of Salt Lake City, Utah, daughter Keri McIntyre (Joshua Lindsey) of Modesto, daughter Suzie Jessen of Durham, and is grandfather of 17 and great grandfather of 10.  

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Durham Rotary: P.O. Box 383, Durham, CA 95938. 


We are trying to get the word out to family and friends ❤️ 


Please join us for a Celebration of the Lives of David and Suzanne Jessen 

To be held on Saturday, February 3rd, 2024, from noon to 3pm at the Durham Veterans Memorial Hall 9319 Midway, Durham CA, 95938


We are hoping to see you there. 

RSVP would be helpful but is not necessary.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of David Jessen , please visit Tribute Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for David
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Brusie Funeral Home
Share Your Memory of