In Memory of

Denise Eileen Theisen

July 11, 1957 - September 29, 2019
From: Spencer, IA | Originally: Marcus, IA

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.

Tribute Video
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, October 3, 2019, at Holy Name Catholic Church in Marcus, Iowa.
Father Bill McCarthy
Visitation will begin at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, with the family present from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Wednesday night at the Holy Name Church in Marcus. A prayer service will follow at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night at the church.
Holy Name Cemetery
Marcus, Iowa


Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 3:07 PM
“Dear Christy, Scott and Family: My heart goes out to you on this day. I pray that God continues to give you the grace and strength that he gave to Denise, all these years. May Denise rest in peace. You have another angel watching over you. I remember when we thought that Denise and Kenny would have been a great couple. I will make sure to let him know so he can say a Mass for her.
Love, Connie and John Guenthner”
- Connie Guenthner
Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 3:07 PM
“Our condolences on your loss of your beautidul sister, aunt and loved one. We will remember you and your family in our prayers. God be with you and your entire family today . We love you.”
- Dan and Robyn BIrge
Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 3:07 PM
“i just found out about Denise’s passing and send my sincere condolences to her family. I was in Human Resources at Dollar General for many years and had the pleasure of working with Denise over the years she was there. What a joy she always was to work with. Great with her employees. Always wanting the best. And a sense of humor that always had me in stitches whenever we had the opportunity to talk. So sorry to all of you for the loss of a special woman! God’s blessings and prayers for you all!”
- Jeff Rice
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:42 AM
“My condolences to the entire Theisen family on the loss of Denise. May the good Lord watch over and continue to bless her and the entire Theisen family.”
- Ted Wesselmann
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:42 AM
“I was so sorry to hear about Denise. She fought long and hard! I helped her sell her home in Spencer and purchase a smaller one. She was a pleasure to work with and such a beautiful person inside and out! God Bless you Denise! Fly high with the angels!”
- Pam Galm
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:42 AM
“Thinking of all you! Keeping you in my prayers. So many Sunday afternoon visits with cousins! ”
- Kim Thompson
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:42 AM
“Denise you big bright eye, kind heart, beautiful smile and infectious laugh will be missed by so many... To the family thoughts and prayers for peace as you travel through this very difficult journey. Denise was a very special woman and friend to many..”
- Carmie M Miller
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:42 AM
“My condolences to Denise's family. May her soul and all of the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace. God bless.”
- Michael McDermott
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:42 AM
“I am one of the many who will miss Denise, and I am blessed with many memories over the years: her laugh, that deep voice, those eyes that said everything. But after reading this wonderful tribute and viewing all those photos of a life well-lived, I am remembering one special time. Denise and I had art class together in high school, and one assignment was to design the scenery backdrop for the school musical, which was Lil Abner our junior year. Our design was chosen along with Gary Flanagan’s, and we got to reproduce it on the huge panels on the gymnasium stage. Denise was a talented artist, and I didn’t remember that time until reading of her love of art in the remembrance here. Thank you for including that. I know I have a photo of her in art class from that time, so I will try to find it and send it. She’ll always be one of “the Marcus girls.” Peace to her huge and loving family and her many friends. ”
- Julia
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:42 AM
“Such a loss for your mom and siblings. I enjoyed seeing the photo tribute; I see the "Theisen" resemblance, but many of you look like your mom also! My sympathy to Joan! May Denise be with God. May all of you be at peace!
- Mary Lechtenberg
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 11:42 AM
“Denise and I worked together at Hope haven we became friends. She will be missed. My condolences to her family she was a wonderful person she was loved by her co workers. Rest In Peace dear friend”
- Clare Bowen
Monday, September 30, 2019 at 11:39 AM
“Denise was our neighbor for many years, before moving to the east side of town. To her family, we are so sorry for your loss. She had the brightest smile.”
- Terry & Linda Dilocker
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  • Cherokee 216 South 2nd Street
    Highway 59 South
    Cherokee, Iowa 51012
    (712) 225-4886
  • Marcus 100 Eagle Avenue
    Marcus, Iowa 51035
    (712) 376-4886