Lenora Christensen, age 99, of Sioux Falls, formerly of Madison, died Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at Avera Prince of Peace, where she had been a beloved resident for 8 years.
A private family Mass will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church followed by interment in St. Thomas Cemetery. Online condolences can be sent at www.weilandfuneralchapel.com. Arrangements are entrusted with Weiland Funeral Chapel.
Lenora Mary McGinnis was born on November 2, 1920 to Walter and Ethel (Kappenman) McGinnis in Canistota, SD. She spent her childhood there with her brothers and sister on a small farm. She graduated from Dolton High School. After graduation, she met a handsome man with wonderful dancing skills at a local dance hall who captivated her heart. His name was Sheldon J. Christensen. After a short courtship and his deployment, they were engaged and married August 5, 1942 in Miami, FL where her husband was stationed during WWII and served as an (WOJG) officer.
Following the end of the war, they returned to South Dakota where Sheldon pursued a bachelor's degree in Yankton, SD. It was there they welcomed their cherished first-born son, Alan, and suffered the loss of a newborn daughter, Theresa. Next Sheldon then moved the family to Minnesota where he pursued a chiropractic degree. After graduation they returned again to South Dakota and set up a practice in Madison, SD. It was there they continued to grow their family. They welcomed their beautiful daughters, Jane and Julie, and their sweet son Mark.
Lenora poured herself into raising her family. She took pride in caring for them and those around her. She was a dedicated polling volunteer, wonderful hostess and excellent cook. A visitor was always asked "what can I get you?" She loved spending time with friends playing bridge, and with her family, especially at their Christmas gatherings.
During her life she took on many roles, and as she joyfully watched her daughters marry and start their own families, her role as grandma became one of her favorites. When she started to affectionately refer to her grandchildren as her little dollies, she forever became known as "Grandma Dolly."
Even more than loving her family, she spent her life devoted to loving God. She was a faithful parishioner of St. Thomas parish in Madison, volunteered her time to the Altar Society and to the Catholic Daughters of America. Her deep Catholic faith took her on travels to Rome and Lourdes, France.
Even after the tragic passing of their son Mark in 1989, her faith never wavered. She knew God's promise of salvation awaited those who served Him well. We take comfort in knowing that after nearly a century of seeking to love and serve the Lord, He has fulfilled His promise and granted her eternal rest.
Lenora is survived by her sister, Connie McGinnis of Green Valley, AZ; her children, Alan (Terrie) Christensen of Milwaukee, WI, Jane (Mike) Materese of Madison, SD and Julie (Greg) Melham of Sioux Falls, SD; four grandchildren, Carrie Materese, Jimmy (Casey) Materese, Mandy (Chris) Lidel and Haylee Melham; six great-grandchildren, Lauryn, Eden, Elizabeth, Lyla, Maddox, and her "little boy" Asher.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Sheldon; son, Mark; daughter, Theresa; and her two brothers, Bernell and Patrick McGinnis.