Beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Thelma Dean (“Deanie”) Hanten Nielsen, age 85, of Centerville, South Dakota, formerly of White Lake, South Dakota, passed away at Sanford Hospital on Sunday, July 2, 2017 surrounded by family. Deanie was born to Albert and Esther (Bosworth) Hanten on August 16, 1931 in Mitchell, SD. She was united in marriage with John M. Nielsen on October 10, 1948. They had five children.
Deanie graduated from White Lake High School. She and John farmed for many years before moving to Florida. She later earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Dakota Wesleyan University. After working in education and social work for a number of years in Wisconsin and Florida, she and John moved to rural Vermillion. There they entered the restaurant business, first in Vermillion, then in Centerville and Yankton where they owned and operated JoDean’s Steakhouse and Lounge, which is still in business today.
After John passed away in 1989, Deanie moved to Centerville where she actively supported many community organizations in a variety of ways. She was especially engaged in the Red Hat Pearls and the Garden Club. She also delighted in her trips to Florida. For the past three years, Deanie enjoyed her time living in the assisted living wing of the Centerville Care Center where she greatly appreciated the people and received excellent care.
Grateful for having shared her life are her children, Johna Nielsen of Sioux Falls, Susan and husband John Steele of Plankinton, B. Cort Nielsen of Vermillion, Chad Nielsen of Wakonda, John (“Jack”) Nielsen of Centerville, special family friend Jerald (“Jerry”) Hamilton of Centerville, granddaughter Amanda (Steele) Sieling and husband Christopher and children, Isabella, Michael, and Elizabeth; grandson Corey Steele and wife Amanda and children, John, Jonas, James, Annamarie, and Dominic; grandson Eldon Whitepipe and son Cooper; sisters-in-law Lee Hanten, Velva Nielsen and Janice Nielsen; and brothers-in-law Robert Nielsen and G. Howard Nielsen and wife, Norma; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition, Deanie shared her life with many dogs, including her beloved Tai and Cubit. She proudly raised many German Shepherd dogs for various law enforcement agencies, and also Chow Chows and Chihuahuas. She also loved many grand dogs.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John; her parents, Esther and Albert; her brother, B.A. Hanten; her sister-in-law Elaine Hanten; her niece Michelle Hanten; her brothers-in-law Edward Nielsen, Alan Nielsen and Irvin Nielsen; and her niece-in-law Debbie Nielsen.
A visitation will be held on the evening of Thursday, July 6, 2017, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Centerville United Church of Christ in Centerville, SD. The funeral will be held on Friday, July 7, 2017, at 10:30 a.m., at the church. Arrangements are under the direction of the Wass Funeral Home. A graveside memorial service will follow in the afternoon at 3:00 p.m. at the Graceland Cemetery in Mitchell, SD with fellowship to follow at the Bittner Funeral Chapel. Graveside arrangements are under the direction of the Bittner Funeral Chapel.