Alfred Jason ‘Ja’ Densmore Jr.
November 9, 2007
Alfred Jason “Ja” Densmore Jr. died Tuesday, Nov. 6, after a long illness. Densmore was a business owner and Aspen and longtime resident of Carbondale.
Mr. Densmore was born in Lebanon, N.H., on Feb. 26, 1922. He graduated from Kimball Union Academy in 1940 and attended Dartmouth College as member of the Class of 1944. To serve his country, he entered the U.S. Army Air Corp Cadet program in 1942 and graduated a year later as a 2nd Lieutenant. In September 1944 he began a combat tour of duty with the 452nd Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force, stationed in Attleboro, England. He flew 35 missions over Germany through mid-1945. During that tour, he was promoted to captain and flew as lead command pilot for 30 missions. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters. Under his leadership, the 452nd Bomb group was awarded a Presidential Citation for its contribution to the April 7, 1945, attack on a strategic airfield in Kaltenkirchen, Germany.
Mr. Densmore returned to civilian life in 1946 and joined his family’s business as President of Densmore Brick Company, Inc. located in Lebanon, N.H. and Essex Junction, Vt. Densmore brick was used in buildings throughout New England, including many buildings at Dartmouth College and Kimball Union Academy.
In the 1970s, Mr. Densmore founded The Burning Log, a fireplace retail store and wood stove distributor in Lebanon, N.H., and Aspen. He and his wife Martha divided their time between the upper valley and the Roaring Fork Valley for a number of years, retiring and moving full-time to Carbondale in 1985.
An accomplished skier from his youth, Mr. Densmore was coach of Dartmouth’s Nordic Ski Team from 1945 through 1954. He served as Head Coach of the team in 1948 while Walter Prager was coaching the U.S. Olympic Team. An avid alpine skier as well, he continued to ski into his late 70s in Aspen.
Mr. Densmore was very active in the Upper Valley community. He was a Trustee of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital from 1958 until 1970; a Director of the National Bank of Lebanon, N.H., for 21 years; on the Dartmouth Outing Club Advisory Board, and a Director of the Structural Clay Products Institute. In addition, he coordinated numerous charitable efforts in the Upper Valley and was a long time member of Rotary in New Hampshire and Colorado.
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After retiring from the Densmore Brick Company, Mr. Densmore turned his passion for photography, particularly nature photography, into a second career. A member of the Professional Photographers Association, he taught photographic workshops and contributed to numerous photographic publications.
In addition to his wife, Martha, Mr. Densmore is survived by his daughter Priscilla Kern and son-in-law Edward Kern of Lincoln, Mass.; his son Jason Densmore and daughter-in-law Lisa Densmore of Hanover, N.H.; and three grandchildren, Alexandra Kern, Christopher Kern and Parker Densmore.
A celebration of Mr. Densmore’s life will be held Monday, Nov. 12, 2007 at 3:30 p.m. at Pierce’s Inn, Etna, N.H. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Mr. Densmore’s memory to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756.