The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 9, 2013

Ada Esther Dennis


— On October 9, 1932, Ada Esther was born to parents Dick and Ruth (Sheldon) Lewallen in Rapid City, SD. Ada loved growing up with her siblings, Gene,

Robert and Ann.  She was especially close to her twin sister Ann; their lifelong friendship began when they were "womb-mates." Before Ada entered school, her family moved to Huron, SD. In high school, Ada was active in the drama department and known to all as a true confidant.  Her family spent summers in Hisega, SD, working at a local resort where during time off she enjoyed riding horses.  In 1950, Ada graduated from Huron High School.

 Ada married her high school sweet-heart and they soon had a son, Terry. Ada and her husband eventually separated. While attending Huron College, Ada met Doyle Dennis, the love of her life.  Ada received a B.A. degree from Huron college. She soon had a job teaching high school English and History in Wessington Springs, SD, but she and Terry made frequent trips back to Huron to visit Doyle.  Ada and Doyle's love blossomed, and they were married on August 31, 1957, surrounded by family and friends. They moved to Mankato, MN, where their family continued to grow with the birth of Tammy, Rich and Paula.  As a family they enjoyed weekends at Lake George and German Lake where they would camp, boat, BBQ and enjoy friends.

 Ada was an avid card player who never missed bridge club. She loved canning, cooking and baking her famous peanut brittle, caramels and sugar cookies. She was always serving up treats regardless of whether you were hungry.  Ada lived her life by the motto, "No one is a stranger, and everyone is a friend." She made friends everywhere she went. At age 50, Ada went back to school earning a Master's degree in rehabilitative counseling.  She spent the next 15 years working to make life better for those with disabilities. Ada was known to all as a compassionate, open-hearted woman who was full of grace and ready to solve any problem.

 On the evening of Thursday, July 4, 2013, at age 80, Ada entered God's arms surrounded by family. Ada will be forever loved and remembered by her children, Terry (Deanna) of Billings, MT, Tammy (Dennis) of Zumbrota, MN, Rich of Prior Lake, MN, Paula of Bridger, MT; grandchildren, Dana, Ashley, Kristine, Megan, Samantha, Thomas; great-grandchildren, Michael, Faith, Evelynn, Benjamin, Addison; Siblings, Gene (Bobbi), Robert (Phyllis), Ann (Jim); Half-Brothers, Keith, Rodney, Ken; other loving relatives and many close friends.  

 Ada is preceded in death by husband, Doyle; her parents; brother, Dick; half-brothers, Harold and Donald.

 Pall bearers are Ada's six grandchildren.

 A Celebration of Life Service for friends and extended family will be in August.  Ada and Doyle will be laid to rest together at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.  Memorials are preferred and will be distributed by the family in Ada's honor to assist those with disabilities.

 The Dennis family is served with honor, care and compassion by Ballard-Sunder Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Prior Lake Chapel.