Dena Mitchell
  • A memorial has been established to the Calvary Lutheran Church in Lemmon, SD.
  • Calvary Lutheran Church
    303 2nd Ave West
    Lemmon, SD 57638

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Memories & Candles

“I think I may be a family member my father is norman wilts and in 1953 he stayed with his cousins in lemmon sd his grand mother is rena waldecker -...Read More »
1 of 17 | Posted by: tovy wilts bergan - sun city , AZ

“Dena shared her love of Blue Healers with me- had one for many years. She was such a good friend to my dad- Hank Wagner. I had a lot of fun at...Read More »
2 of 17 | Posted by: Kim Wagner Davis - Lakeville, MN

“Rest in peace Dena, we will miss you and your Christmas letters, oxoxo Mart, Charlene, Haley & natalie Geary ( Grandson to Aggie) Say Hi to Hank &...Read More »
3 of 17 | Posted by: charlene Geary - SD

“Sending you all my deepest sympathy,Dena was a special lady and I know GOD will help you through this dificult time!! GOD Bless u all!! ”
4 of 17 | Posted by: Lori Sattler - Lemmon, SD

“Dena was so special to me she helped shaped me into the women I have become. She showed me love and shared so much of our family life with me. I Will...Read More »
5 of 17 | Posted by: Susan Albers - Rapid City, SD

“We were very saddened to hear about Dena. Although I knew her from brief encounters through my Mom she was someone you immediately felt, "she was...Read More »
6 of 17 | Posted by: Bill Sands - Chaska, MN - friend

“What a beautifully written life story. I shared it with my own children so that they could understand the context of their own lives, as descendants...Read More »
7 of 17 | Posted by: Stacy Wiebe - great niece

“Dena is such a "Blessing" to this world....I will always treasure our chats with a glass of Blackberry wine in the evenings... I truly enjoyed Dena's...Read More »
8 of 17 | Posted by: Joann Erker Baroh - spanaway, WA

“My prays and thoughts to the family of Dena. dorthea ”
9 of 17 | Posted by: Dorthea Ternes wiest - Spearfish, SD

“I will miss you. You were a light of sunshine in everyone's life. God bless you and your family. Love Stephanie ”
10 of 17 | Posted by: Stephanie Baroh Santos - Graham, WA

“A favorite memory of Dena and Lyol is when we visited in 1972. I'd never seen the farm, or Lemmon for that matter. I think I could have moved in...Read More »
11 of 17 | Posted by: Jennifer Richards - Port Orchard, WA

“so sorry to hear about Dena. She was a special lady and will be greatly missed by many, Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. ”
12 of 17 | Posted by: Richard and Susan Harwood - SD

“so sorry to hear about Dena. She was a special lady and will be greatly missed by many, Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. ”
13 of 17 | Posted by: Richard and Susan Harwood - SD

“My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. ”
14 of 17 | Posted by: Kristen Starkey Robinson - GA

“Our thoughts & prayers are with the family of Dena Mitchell. ”
15 of 17 | Posted by: Ed & LaVonne Rook - Roundup, MT

“Dena, you will be missed! You are an amazing woman, so full of wisdom and wit. I love your loyal and generous spirit, the fact that you gave...Read More »
16 of 17 | Posted by: Dovie Crofutt

“Mark and I have so many wonderful memories of Dena....she always had the coffee pot on and something delicious to eat. She taught us many things...Read More »
17 of 17 | Posted by: Mark and Cathy Evans - Lemmon, SD


Love Emblem


Funeral services for Dena Mitchell, age 91, of Lemmon, SD will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Lemmon, SD. Pastor Bob Edwards will officiate with burial in the Greenhill Cemetery at Lemmon.

Serving as active casketbearers are her grandchildren, Kathleen Heimelspach, Cody Mitchell, Roy Mitchell, Denise Broadbent, Dawn Kelly, Rory Stevens, Rhonda Reiser, Tori Kling, Justin Dale Mitchell, Lesly Lucy and Christina McElroy. All of Dena's friends are considered honorary casketbearers.

Special music will be provided by Marilyn Willey.

Dena (Palmadinna) Erker Mitchell was born May 19, 1921 in Brisbane, North Dakota to Aloysius & Rosa (Jonas) Erker. She was the second born of five girls who were raised just a short distance from her Four Mile Road home. She lived within 5 miles of her birthplace for most of her lifetime. Dena attended country school at Trail School, near her home. She graduated from Lemmon High School in 1940. During her high school years, she worked as a beautician.

In the summer of 1938 she met the love her life Lyol H. Mitchell, after a short courtship they were married on June 14, 1940 in Bison, South Dakota. They enjoyed a honeymoon in the Black Hills where Mount Rushmore was still under construction.

Dena and Lyol had a relentless commitment to hard work on their farm. Together they raised cattle, pigs, sheep, turkey, chickens & milk cows all the while farming nearly 3000 acres. They proudly raised 5 children & planted the hundreds of acres of trees that became known as the Mitchell tree farm. They had an outstanding orchard and Dena kept a meticulous garden. As a young lady you could find her fishing along the banks of the river, hunting on the countryside or teaching her children life lessons.

Dena was a passionate chef and word traveled fast about Dena's unbelievable cooking, nearly every meal both invited and uninvited guests would join the Mitchells often topping 20 people. She continued her enthusiasm for cooking and baking until her passing.

After losing Lyol in Dec. 1978, Dena found new passions. She loved to travel both domestically and internationally with her sisters, children and grandchildren. A travel highlight was her trip to the 1965 World's fair where her husband, Lyol Mitchell, received the Ford Farmer of the Year. In addition to her farming and ranching operation, she spent several years working at the café in Lemmon and running gift stores in Virginia City, Montana.

Dena was the glue that kept the family together always ensuring a reunion was planned and get-togethers were organized. Once she moved to town she was blessed to share many memories with her best friend and neighbor Blanche Sands.

Dena passed away on Friday, January 25, 2013 at her home in Lemmon, SD.

She is survived by two sons, Leal (Mel) Mitchell and Noel (Roberta) Mitchell, all of Lemmon, SD; two daughters, Vadne (John) Broadbent, Lemmon, SD and Rena Hermann, Bozeman, MT; 11 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great grandchildren; and one sister, Anna Becker, Moscow, ID; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Dena was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Lyol H. Mitchell; one son, Lyol D. Mitchell; one grandson, Mitchell Broadbent; three sisters, Agnes Blom, Katheryn Plocek and Amelia Burkhartsmeier.

Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at the Evanson-Jensen Funeral Home in Lemmon and one hour prior to services at the church on Wednesday afternoon.

A memorial has been established to the Calvary Lutheran Church in Lemmon.