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.