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Chellis Jensen Memorial
August 14, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Chellis Smith Swenson Jensen
September 4, 1935 – May 31, 2021
Tacoma, Washington – On Memorial Day evening Chellis reluctantly made her final exit from the stage with her husband Chuck by her side, her hand grasped firmly in his. She was 85.
As a performer, her stage name was Rhinestone Rosie, a persona she created in 1966 singing songs from the 1890s through the 1940s. Rosie would grace the stage in her fabulous period costumes for over 30 years, bringing smiles and joy to thousands of people all over the country. Though she performed to large crowds, such as the main stage at the Western Washington (Puyallup) Fair she was most at home with intimate venues where she could engage directly with her audience.
Chellis Diane Smith was born on September 4th, 1935 in Tacoma, Washington to Paul and Gladys Smith. She adored her parents and their love for one another and would grow to develop qualities that exemplified her father’s warmth and charisma and her mother’s strength and stubborn resilience.
Tacoma was her home and she loved this city and the people in it, forging a multitude of lifelong friendships while giving everything she had to her community, from selflessly volunteering and fearlessly taking on roles of leadership, to simply checking in on a neighbor and keeping close contact with her many cherished friends. Chellis never met a person she didn’t like. Her desire to connect with people and help them if it was in her power to do so was central to who she was.
Chellis proudly attended Stadium High School and then went on to attend Washington State University receiving a B.A. in Theater Arts. A staunch Cougar, she later took on the role of president for the International WSU Alumni Association. There was no objective, it seemed, she couldn’t accomplish if she set her mind to it, including the restoration of a 33 foot 1950 vintage all wooden boat cabin cruiser. For many years she swung a hammer for Habitat for Humanity helping build over 60 homes, as well as serving as President for the Foss Waterfront Maritime Association. One of her proudest accomplishments was the writing of a children’s book, “Mrs. Annathena Gilly Gully from Puddle Rumple Tilly Willy”.
Chellis so loved her family. To the very end Chellis was a devoted mother, grandmother and wife. She will be remembered fondly for her energy, larger than life charisma, and her compassionate heart.
Chellis was preceded in death by her first husband Marvin Swenson and her parents Paul M. Smith and Gladys Chellis Smith. Chellis is survived by her husband Chuck Jensen; sister Clarissa Jurgensen [sons Eric, Ian and Matthew]; daughter Marva Kay Blackmore (David) [children Beth and Eric]; son Michael Swenson (Nancy) [children Dorothy and Emily]; son Paul Swenson (Marcella) [children Colin and Cat]; son Jim Swenson (Catherine) [children Harper and Max], along with numerous great grandchildren, a great great grandchild, and many cousins.
Chellis’ faith in God meant everything to her. Both she and her husband Chuck Jensen attended Immanuel Presbyterian in Tacoma where her presence and friendship will be greatly missed.
A celebration of Chellis’s life will be held at Immanuel Presbyterian Church 901 N J Street Tacoma, WA 98403 on August 14, 2021 at 2 pm. Reception will follow in Fellowship Hall. Volunteers are needed – if you are able please contact Steve Duschene 253.732.9865 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MASKS ARE REQUIRED INDOORS WHETHER VACCINATED OR NOT!