Evelyn Jensen, 1938 – 2019

Evelyn Jensen, circa 1992. Photos courtesy the Jensen family

Longtime Topanga resident Evelyn Jensen passed away on March 30, with her family by her side.

At the age of 19, Evelyn Bernbach met the love of her life and future husband, Russell Jensen, at a Lutheran Church in New York City during a Sunday Service where she tripped and fell into his arms. They discovered they were neighbors, dated for about two years, then married in the same church where Russ’s parents were married, by the son of their pastor.

Evelyn worked as a Teller at The Chase Manhattan Bank in New York and Russ worked for Hughes Aircraft as an Engineer. They moved around the country following Russ’s career—from New York to Massachusetts, Santa Monica, CA and Gardena—finally purchasing a home on Old Topanga Canyon from the Cepin Family in 1971, where they lived until 2017, when they reluctantly decided to relocate to a retirement community in Moorpark, where they met many new friends and enjoyed the simple life.

Evelyn teaching piano tunes to little Cathleen Sullivan, daughter of Topanga ceramists, Jim and Sue Sullivan, during Christmas 1983.

During the ‘70s Jensen volunteered as a teacher’s aide at Topanga Elementary where she played piano for the children, singing songs such as “Yellow Submarine” and “You are My Sunshine.”  In 1973 she got her real estate license and hung it with Pruett Realty and sold Topanga homes to members of The Eagles, Buffalo Springfield, the director of “The Grove Tube,” and many others. She also did some administrative office work at Elysian Fields in Topanga. She finished her professional career working in the finance department for The City of Santa Monica.

She loved children, music, swimming, the ocean, and her close network of friends. She especially looked forward to Topanga Days, where she often worked the T-Shirt Booth, enjoying her time with the community. Evelyn and Russ took retirement early, traveling and taking cruises to nearly 100 countries around the world. They were happily married 61 years. Jensen was 81.

There will be no service per her wishes. Her ashes will be scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

She leaves behind her husband Russell, who continues to reside at The Reserve in Thousand Oaks, sons Peter (Lori) of Agoura, and Gary (Lucy) of Topanga.

Her soul will live on!


  1. I so enjoyed being in the company of Evelyn and Russ – mostly during the last 10 years @ the Community Club events and the Sage Dinners. She always had a big smile and happy things to say. She will be missed. RIP Evelyn Jensen.

  2. So sad to see another of my friends passing even tho we haven’t seen each other in thirty years. I remember her from many Topanga Days and thought she and Russ were a class act and as I knew their son Gary very well I also know that she did a great job as a mother Rest Well
    Don Hilston

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