Barbara Jeanne Dennis

Barbara Jeanne Dennis

Barbara Jeanne Dennis
February 16, 1930 – February 18, 2019
Oskaloosa, Iowa | Age 89

Barbara Jeanne Dennis, age 89 of Oskaloosa, died February 18, 2019 at MHP Hospice Serenity House in Oskaloosa. She was born on February 16, 1930, in Oskaloosa, Iowa, the daughter of Melvin Lincoln Dykstra and Helen Marshall Dykstra.

Barb attended Oskaloosa High School and graduated with the Class of 1948.

Barb was united in marriage to Harold “Dean” Dennis on June 26, 1948 in What Cheer, Iowa at the United Methodist Church by Reverend Williams. To this union they were blessed with a daughter, Ronda. Together they shared over 70 years of marriage. Barb and Dean enjoyed a hot beef sandwich for their first meal as husband and wife. They continued to celebrate this tradition on every anniversary and were even able to have their best man, Tommy Tucker, and other loved ones join in on the ritual for their 70th anniversary. It was a special celebration that the Oskaloosa Herald featured on the front page of the newspaper.

Barb worked at JC Penney, at Alsop’s selling shoes, and briefly as a respiratory therapy assistant at Mahaska County Hospital. She also helped Dean with his job at Moorman’s Manufacturing by answering phones and doing office work. She spent most of her life as a homemaker, where lunch was ready by noon and supper by 5. She was proud of her home and was notorious for keeping it spotless and beautiful. Barb was a perfectionist who always believed in doing things the “right way”. Whether it was pronouncing a word properly or cleaning her home from top to bottom every day, Barb made sure she was doing it with the correct technique.

While Oskaloosa would always be home, Barb and Dean also enjoyed experiencing new parts of the country. They lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Tacoma, Washington, and San Antonio, Texas, where Dean was stationed with the USAF. They also traveled together: going to Branson every fall, riding their motorcycle to Maine, driving up to Alaska, and taking the train out to Denver, Colorado to visit their granddaughter.

For the entirety of her life, Barb was known for her kindness and empathy. She never met a stranger and could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere. She swelled with pride at the mention of her family and could talk endlessly of their accomplishments. Her hobbies included listening to music and playing the piano and organ. She and Dean also enjoyed dancing, especially ballroom and polka. Throughout her life she enjoyed the companionship of animals. We know that Sydney, Faggy, Luddy Bub, Penny Puppy, Tia and Gracie have once again greeted her with wagging tails.

Her family includes: her husband, Dean Dennis; a daughter, Dr. Ronda (& Mike Smithart) Dennis-Smithart of Ottumwa; and a granddaughter, 4th year Medical Student, Kelsey Smithart (& Fiancé Dr. Ryan King) of Iowa City. She is also survived by a brother, Melvin E Dykstra of Oskaloosa; a sister in law, Opal Dennis of What Cheer; and brother in law, Keith Dennis of San Antonio, Texas.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a sister, Carol Dykstra, in infancy; her maternal grandparents, Bertha Mae (& George Calvin) Spurgeon Marshall; and paternal grandparents, Charles “Jelle” (& Anna) Dykstra, who was Captain of the Salvation Army.

Funeral Services will be held Friday, February 22, 2019 at 10:30 AM in the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa with Pastor Dave Brown and Pastor Keith Dennis officiating.
Burial will be in the Forest Cemetery in Oskaloosa. Arrangements are by the Bates Funeral Chapel.
Visitation will begin Thursday, February 21, 2019, after 12:00 PM in the Bates Funeral Chapel and the family will be present at the funeral chapel from 5:00 – 7:00 PM Thursday evening to greet friends and relatives.
Memorial may be made to Stephens Memorial Animal Shelter, Salvation Army, or MHP Hospice Serenity House.

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Barbara Jeanne Dennis please visit the Bates Funeral Chapel Sympathy Store.

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