Jane Ardell Dennis, age 83, a lifetime Menahga/Park Rapids, MN area resident, peacefully passed from this life to the eternal splendor of heaven on Thursday morning, November 29, 2018 at the CHI St. Joseph’s Hospital in Park Rapids with her loved ones at her side.
Jane was born on July 1, 1935 to Walter and Dagmar (Wuollet) Niska on their farm west of Menahga. She attended a one-room country schoolhouse near her home where, as a young Finnish girl, she first learned to speak English at the age of 6. She went on to attend high school in Menahga where she excelled and was very active in school activities; including, being a high school cheerleader. In addition, during her teenage years, Jane learned a good work ethic by working at her parent’s restaurant in Menahga known as the Niska Café. After graduating from high school with the Menahga Class of 1953, Jane ventured to Minneapolis where she attended Model Beauty School. She returned to Menahga where she worked at several Beauty Salons before starting “Jane’s Beauty Shop” which she operated for a number of years. On October 6, 1956, Jane was united in marriage to Gordon J. Dennis. Their marriage was blessed with four children: Ernest, Paul, Susan, and Sharon. They made their home north of Park Rapids on Ingram Lake where they raised their family and Jane made her home for the past 62 years. She devoted her life to making a loving home for her husband and children. She was a wonderful cook and baker and will be especially remembered for her delicious potato salad and banana cream pie. In addition to caring for her family, Jane also worked at Ringers Mfg., the Park Rapids Enterprise, the Park Rapids Clinic and the State Bank of Park Rapids. She retired to care for her husband, Gordon who was experiencing failing health and subsequently passed away in 2003. Jane was active in her community and enjoyed singing in the community choir and bowling on the women’s league for many years. At home, she loved working out in her lovely flower gardens and feeding the many birds that graced her property. Jane was an avid historian who loved to share old family pictures, history and genealogy with everyone. She had a heart that always saw the good in everyone and possessed the gift of making all feel welcome, valued and special.
Jane will be lovingly remembered by her four children: Ernest (Kathy) Dennis of Menahga, Paul (Diane) Dennis, Susan Benjamin and Sharon (James) Emerson all of Park Rapids. She loved her four grandchildren: Nathan, Jessica, Clayton and Kaelan and her step-granddaughter, Casey; as well as three honorary grandchildren: Dani, Nikki, and Reid and her precious great-granddaughter, Josie Jane. Her life was blessed with her closeness with her three sisters: Patty (John) Luttinen, Kathy Limanen and Ann (Rev. Loren) Ferch and her brother, Ron (Marcia) Niska; as well as her many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Gordon.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 AM Thursday, December 6, 2018 at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids with her brother-in-law, Rev. Loren Ferch officiating. Music will be provided by close friends, Pastor Fred and Beverly Brown. Interment will be made in the Menahga City Cemetery. Her casket bearers will be her grandchildren: Casey Daugherty, Nathan Dennis, Jessica Kimball and her husband, Bill, Clayton Benjamin and Kaelan Emerson. Her honorary casket bearers will be Dani, Nikki and Reid Griess. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 PM Wednesday evening at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home and will continue on Thursday beginning one hour prior to the service. Following the service all are invited to a luncheon at the Calvary Lutheran Church.
To leave online condolences or to view the video tribute, please visit www.jonespearson.com