Denise Eileen Theisen died September 29, 2019 at age 62 in Marcus, Iowa. She had fought cancer for many years, but eventually there was no beating the disease that ended up taking her life.
Denise grew up on a farm in Cherokee county, one of 14 children of Elmer and Joan Schilmoeller Theisen. She had big eyes and a big smile—and she had big dreams for a woman from a small place. She graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1981 with a degree in business administration. Before long she was working as a manager—then a regional manager—for national retail outlets such as Claire’s, Marshall’s, and Dollar General. She moved from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Mesa, Arizona, to Denver, Colorado, to Omaha, Nebraska.
She was committed to her work, crisscrossing the Midwest and West from store to store. She did so well that she was able to retire at a young age and return to Iowa, moving to Spencer to be close to family and friends. She later devoted time to Hope Haven as a group-home coordinator, where she found much happiness and satisfaction in her role helping her clients develop life skills.
Denise was a career woman, but she was first a daughter, a sister, an aunt and loyal friend. She attended an infinite number of birthday parties, high-school graduations, weddings, and other events. She once drove to Arkansas to help care for a great niece and nephew. She loved to sing and dance. Some of her most treasured times were spent with the many friends she made in her life. Denise was a big fan of football, cheering for both the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers and enjoyed the fun competition among family members. She loved to travel and took the opportunity whenever it arose. She also had a great love for her two cats Hallie and Callie.
Denise possessed confidence and made her own way. She was a role model for her younger siblings, and nephews and nieces, whom she loved to talk with and, with total delight, sometimes tease. She was honest with people, including herself. She regretted never pursuing her talent for art.
Her family that misses her include Denise’s mother, Joan Cronin of Marcus, Iowa; her siblings, Mick (Jean) Theisen of Marcus, Iowa; Debbie (Rick) Hellman of Burt, Iowa; Patty (Joe) Schulte of Omaha, Neb.; Gail (Rich) Grzywa of Omaha, Neb.; Christy (Scott) Carlson of Marcus, Iowa; Paula (Tom) Kleen of Sioux City, Iowa; Brian (Lorie) Theisen of LeMars, Iowa; Marilyn (Rod) Wellman of Sioux City, Iowa; and Mark (Julie) Theisen of LeMars, Iowa; her sister-in-law Kim Theisen of LeMars, Iowa; thirty-three nieces and nephews; fourty-one great-nieces and nephews and eleven step brothers and sisters..
She joins in death her father, Elmer Theisen; her siblings Randy, Jackie, Joseph, and Mary; her nephew Ryan; brother-in-law Dennis LaFleur and step-father, Joe Cronin.