In Memory of

Donald "Dean" Ellis

January 11, 1937 - May 20, 2021
From: Rockwell City, IA

D. Dean Ellis passed away at home surrounded by his loved ones on May 20, 2021. His time of death was his most precious time of the day, early morning. Mornings were reserved for him and the Lord to share time together and there was no doubt that this morning was his favorite.

   Dean was born on a farm, on January 11, 1937 to Don and Elma Ellis. He was their second child out of four (Shirley (Ellis) Goodwin, Darlene (Ellis) Passow, David Ellis) and was surely nurtured to be a dependable, hardworking,honest man. His childhood days were filled with adventure and sometimes daring stunts, which he never outgrew! He went to school in Jolley, Iowa and was a "Bluejay" all the way from Kindergarten through Senior year in 1955. He played basketball and was crowned homecoming king. He made friends easily and still carries those friendships with him today. He couldn't meet a stranger and the longer in his presence the more at home you felt. He attended Buena Vista College for one year with aspirations of becoming a teacher or a meteorologist but something else was calling him. He signed on with the Army in the spring of 1957 and continued his service with the Army Reserves. 

 One summer night at the Twin Lakes Ballroom, Dean was captivated by the sight of a young lady. He followed her into the dance hall and as she turned toward him he asked her name. After she introduced herself, his response back was, "You sure are pretty, Judy." And from that moment their love story began. Dean and Judy Alwena Jones were married six months later at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Manson, Iowa on December 31, 1958. They made their home on a farm just southwest of Jolley where they lived for 42 years. These years were filled with farming, raising livestock, finding treasure and restoring it to its natural beauty, tending to their home and making it a beautiful place to build their family. They worked side by side throughout these years and developed a deep love for Christ. This deep-rooted faith was their stronghold and their guidance while raising their children. It is this faith that carried them through trials of loss and heartache as well as great joys. In 1998, Dean and Judy retired from farming and in the summer of 2000 they moved to their present home. This home served their family for many beautiful years and it became a place where people left feeling more at peace than when they first got there and was fondly named Happyland!

  Dean and Judy worked together to make this world a beautiful place and if you were to ask either of them they would say, "Your presence here makes this world a beautiful place." And this was the truth spoken to each of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. The unconditional love for one another given throughout their nearly 63 years of marriage was their greatest heirloom ever given...

Children......Tony and Becky Ellis, Jon and Juli Ellis, Lisa and Steve Wozniak, Matt and Melinda Ellis, Heath and Pam Ellis, Julia and Blane Krause, Melissa and Jim Hindt.

Grandchildren...Ame and Greg Buse, Michelle and Grant Riedel, Austin Ellis, Jonathan and Brenden Ellis, Benjamin and Joseph Wozniak, Brady Douma, Aubrey and Jordan Axelson, Ariana, Sarah and Sophia Ellis, Shelby and Nathan Eick, Sydney and Alex Tietz, Anna and Brayden Krause, Jonah, Isabella, Aaron and Eli

Great Grandchildren...Luke, Ethan and Adalyn Buse, Reagan and Fynn Riedel, Jessa and Jay Axelson, Lacey Eick and Mary Tietz

   Dean is preceded in death by his parents, Donald Keith and Elma [Darlene (Chapman) Ellis. His wife's parents; Albert Ray and Julia Alwena (Dowling) Jones; three souls that Dean and Judy lost due to miscarriage. He is also waiting to be welcomed to heaven by his sister-in-law, Becky Pfaffly and his brother-in-laws Mick Jones and Kenny Richards.

  A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 a.m. Friday, May 28, 2021 at St. Francis Catholic Church in Rockwell City (where he and Judy have been members since united in marriage) with Rev. Lawrence McCarty officiating. Burial will follow at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery with military rites provided by the United States Army Honor Guard and the Rockwell City Veterans Organization. Visitations will be on Thursday from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at St. Francis Church with a Vigil Prayer service beginning at 7:00 PM and Friday one hour prior at the Church. Palmer & Swank Funeral Home is lovingly serving the family.

Tribute Video
11:00 AM- Friday
May 28, 2021
St. Francis Catholic Church
Rockwell City, Iowa
Father Lawrence McCarty
4:00 to 7:00 PM - Thursday
May 27, 2021
St. Francis Catholic Church
Rockwell City, Iowa

Vigil Service:  7:00 p.m. - Thursday
St. Francis Catholic Church

St. Francis Catholic Cemetery
Rockwell City, Iowa


Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 8:07 PM
“So sorry to hear the passing of Dean. My condolences to Judy and all of his loving family.”
- Tina Willams

Friday, May 28, 2021 at 12:16 PM
“My deepest sympathies to the whole Ellis family.”
- Jinnie (Casey) Currie

Friday, May 28, 2021 at 11:22 AM
“A heart felt sympathy to the family of Dean Ellis. I will miss Dean and his great knowledge of scripture and all things about God's love for all of us. May he be always with you! I have known Dean and Judy since the days when we met frequently while selling feeder pigs at the Lake City Sale Barn. Long time friend Long time believer! Alan Baughman”
- Alan Baughman

Friday, May 28, 2021 at 6:00 AM
“Myself and two sons wish to express our deepest sympathy to the entire Ellis family. Dean always was a kind person who always took out of his precious time to stop and talk to us if it was the church basement our a store. My sons appreciated him and would tell me who they ran into.
I remember myself growing up in the religion faith Dean was my teacher and his class was one I learned the most out of. I can’t also forget the time I helped him teach a class. I was well honored.
I know that Dean is a true angel of god. He will be missed. Karen, and two sons.”
- Karen wildt

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 2:06 PM
“Judy and family,
We are heart broken to hear of the lost of your wonderful husband, father and grandfather “Dean”. May all your memories give you comfort and peace. May the perpetual light shine upon Dean!

Albert and Terri (Schonert) Aulner”
- Albert and Terri (Schonert) Aulner

Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 9:22 AM
“Judy and family, so sorry to hear of Dean’s passing. You and Dean created a wonderful family and were always so kind. Celebrate his beautiful legacy. Prayers to all of you!”
- Mike and Kathy Tasler

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 9:52 PM
“So sorry to hear of Dean’s passing. They were neighbors to us on the farm south of Jolley. What a wonderful guy. He was so nice to us younger ones. Always admired him. ”
- John Moreland

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 8:15 PM
“So sorry to read of Dean's passing. What a wonderful life story you have shared through his obituary.”
- Gale Prince

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 6:44 AM
“We send our deepest condolences to the Ellis family. Dean was an amazing man. I know my marriage wouldn't be as strong as it is with out the marriage class that Kelly and I took with Dean and Judy.”
- Sean and Kelly Knudson

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 9:34 PM
“Just heard about Dean's passing.
What a truly wonderful man filled with faith and love. My heart goes out to the whole Ellis family!”
- Joe Feld

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 5:09 PM
“My deepest sympathy to the family. I will always treasure the moments throughout years that I was able to spend with Dean. A very dear and special Man.”
- Jim Wozniak, Jr.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 10:55 AM
“Our deepest sympathies to Judy & her family. Dean was a very special guy. He was deeply involved with his Lord. May the Lord continue to comfort & sustain you & your family during this time.”
- Sharon & Ed Ludwig

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 8:56 AM
“Sending hugs to each and everyone of you. So very sorry for your loss of Dean. What a pillar of a man. I pray all of your memories you will hang onto until you see him again. God and Dean will be waiting with open arms.”
- Roxy (Johnson) Crandall

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 8:37 AM
“I am so sorry to hear of Deans passing! Such a nice, kind man! My deepest sympathies & prayers go out to all of his family! God Bless!!”
- Shirley Ashbrook

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 1:35 AM
“Heart felt condolences, and sympathies ”
- Marlene (Hopkins) Beatty

Monday, May 24, 2021 at 9:56 PM
“My heart is sad for the earthly loss of my great-uncle Dean, but I am rejoicing that he is home in heaven. A truly kind, loving and joyful man - I am praying for the Ellis family as you mourn the loss of someone so wonderful and loved. ”
- Kristyn Roush (Goodwin)

Monday, May 24, 2021 at 9:17 PM
“Our Deepest Sympathy to the Ellis Family on your loss of Dean. May you find Comfort and Peace in the many beautiful Memories that you all share and hold within your hearts. ”
- The Passow Family

Monday, May 24, 2021 at 5:06 PM
“We have many fond memories of him and always positive attitude. He will be missed by all”
- Ray Wall

Monday, May 24, 2021 at 3:45 PM
“My condolences to the Ellis family as Mr. Ellis was a class act and exceptional individual. Without a doubt he’s smiling down as the world is a better place from his legacy and anyone blessed to know his family!”
- Matthew & Shannon Wintz

Monday, May 24, 2021 at 9:13 AM
“I am so sorry for your loss, Judy. Thinking of you with love.
Marge (Gray) Nelson”
- Marge Nelson

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 7:16 PM
“I remember spending time with Dean and Judy at the Depot People meetings. Dean's smile and how he made others feel, is only two good parts of Dean Ellis. I am very sorry for your loss and loss to all who knew Dean. You are all in my prayers.”
- Missy Anderson Maher

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 4:13 PM
“I'm so sorry to read this. I have always thought the world of both of you and will miss his great smile! All of my best to your family!”
- Becky Sexton

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 3:13 PM
“I'm so sorry for your loss of Dean. He was such a kind man and so good to my whole family. Sending heartfelt sympathy to Judy, their children, and their extended family. May fond memories carry you all through the difficult days.”
- Joan Wozniak

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 2:55 PM
“Dean was a very special man and past,so.......many memories..Judy and Kids know that I am with you...”

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 2:47 PM
“Thinking of your family during this difficult time. You are in our thoughts and prayers. ”
- Scott & Heather Anderson

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 1:06 PM
“Judy we are so sad to hear the news that Dean passed away. Out hearts and our prayers are with you.”
- E.R. (Bud) Wattonville

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 1:15 AM
“My sincere sympathy to the entire family. ”
- Jack Wall

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 6:49 PM
“Sending our heartfelt sympathy to Judy and the family. Dean was very special to us. You are in our thoughts and prayers.”
- Jim and Elaine Reynolds

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 5:58 PM
“A good man who helped raise and support a wonderful, loving family. Prayers for healing to you all. ”
- Christopher Fitzgerald

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 1:28 PM
“Heartfelt sympathy to the entire family!!! A wonderful couple..such a kind man! I was blessed to share my birthday with him! 🥰🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻”
- Lyla Sonnenfeld Johnson

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 12:06 PM
“Our heartfelt sympathy. Dean was such a kind man. ”
- Gerri & Jane McCurdy

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 11:37 AM
“May you find comfort in your treasured memories and knowing that he is now enjoying his eternal life”
- Maureen Hobart

Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 11:35 AM
“Sending my deepest sympathy to Judy and the family for your loss of Dean💜 My Heart is so sad for you all💜 Sending big hugs of comfort and prayers in the days to come💜💜💜💜”
- Joy (Johnson) Krause

Friday, May 21, 2021 at 6:12 PM
“My very deepest sympathy to all of you! My parents and I were devastated when we heard the news. I just saw both of you at a wedding less than three weeks ago, and I wish now I'd had the time to visit. Sending heartfelt prayers. ”
- Deb Mefferd

Friday, May 21, 2021 at 4:58 PM
“Good memories of a fine person.”
- carolyn lottman

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