Donald Jens

For millions of Chicagoans, the last weekend of July means one thing – a trip to Chicago’s lakefront to witness the thunder and majesty of the Chicago Air and Water Show. From water-craft demonstrations to precision flying teams to the power and daring of the Blue Angels, Chicaoans owe a debt of gratitude to the late Don Jens. A former Chicago Park District supervisor, Don Jens worked out of an office at Lake Shore Park and was instrumental in expanding the Air and Water Show from a small gyn event in 1958 to the world-class event it is today. Softball players, however, remember Don Jens as one of the founders of the Windy City Softball League, one of the premier leagues in the history of 16-inch softball and, along with his uncle, Harry Weiner, introduced the Clincher as softball’s official ball. Additionally, Jens was also an outstanding short-center fielder who played many games at Thillens Stadium. Don Jens grew up on the West-side of Chicago and graduated from Tuley High School. He served in the Army Medical Corps during World War II. He passed away in 2008 and is survived by his his two sons, two grandchildren and his longtime companion, Cindy LeBeau.