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Denise Christensen, 52, of Sioux Falls, passed away on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls. Her Celebration of Life Service will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, 2019 at Miller Funeral Home Southside Chapel. Visitation will be one hour prior to the start of the service.
Denise Lea Winegarden was born on February 9, 1967, the daughter of Dennis and Diane (Chrisman) Winegarden. She grew up in Sharon Center, IA and graduated from Mid-Prairie High School in 1985. She then attended the University of Iowa and graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering in 1989. She married Dave Christensen on December 23, 1988 at Sharon Center United Methodist Church. The couple made their home in Iowa, Vermont and Illinois before settling in Sioux Falls, SD in 2005. She was dedicated to raising her children and volunteering. Denise’s volunteer work led her to complete a degree in Nursing from the University of South Dakota in 2008. She worked at Sanford Hospital until joining the Avera Heart Hospital family in 2009 where she worked until the time of her death.
Hot air ballooning shaped Denise’s life from a young age. She learned to fly from her Dad and received her pilot certificate in 1985. While flying for her Dad’s ride business, she met her future husband Dave, another pilot flying for Dennis. Denise took pride in watching her daughter become a third generation balloon pilot, and she shared many adventures with an extended ballooning family. She also enjoyed gardening, knitting, sewing and volunteering at Lifescape.
Denise was preceded in death by her father, Dennis Winegarden.
She is survived by her husband, Dave of Sioux Falls; her twin children, Anne (Alex) Susko of Spirit Lake, IA and John Christensen of Cincinnati, OH; her mother, Diane Winegarden of North Liberty, IA; her sisters, Debra (Bill) Horning of Coralville, IA and Danita Capps of Denver, CO; her in-laws, Merlyn and Janet Christensen of Dell Rapids, SD; sisters-in-law, Cheryl (Stu) Dix of Baldwin, WI and Linda Nelson of Clear Lake, IA and her many nieces, nephews and friends.
Memorials may be directed to the Denise Christensen Memorial Fund intended to continue sharing Denise’s support of and compassion for others.