Dennis L. Hjelmeng

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Dennis Lee Hjelmeng, age 74, of Avon, Ind.,  formerly of Omaha, Neb., left his time on earth too soon on Friday, April 19, 2024. Denny was born to “Swede” and Lois (Larson) Hjelmeng on Sept. 12, 1949, in McGregor. 

He was loved by his wife of 54 years, Maren (Michelson); his three children and 12 grandchildren: Craig (Johnna) Hjelmeng and their children,  Matthew, Jordan (London), Denielle, Jalen, Noah, Caleb and Christopher; Kari (Bryan) Bennett and their children, Taylor (Nic), Tanner, Torrey and Teagen; Kristin (Ryan) Weston and their child Caden; his 15 great-grandchildren; his sisters, Lynn Larson and Kay Meylor; honorary son, Jeff (Connie) Ulrich; and countless brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, cousins and friends. Denny is preceded in death by his parents, Swede and Lois Hjelmeng; his brothers-in-law, James Meylor and Gary Larson; his father and mother-in-law, Leonard and Hanna Michelson; and sister-in-law, Tam Michelson. 


The eldest of three, Denny survived childhood polio. He came back stronger and learned his love of sports where he excelled at Elkader High School. He later took on the nickname “Jingles” as he played basketball for Luther College, where he met his sweetheart, Maren. Denny and Maren wed on June 20, 1970. In true Denny fashion, he made many lifelong friends in his fraternity the ZPT’s, being a volunteer firefighter and living in Decorah. Denny and Maren continued to raise their children in Ankeny. Weekends were spent with some of his favorite people playing softball and traveling to tournaments. In his free time, he enjoyed coaching his children in sports. After moving to Omaha, he continued his 40-year career in sales. He quickly immersed himself with Lancer Hockey, his fantasy football leagues and neighbors, where he met so many important people to him, and the nickname Pode and Command Central were born. A special shout out to the Green Coat Gang. Many of his friends and family made that weekend in June such an important part of all of our memories. For 50 years, people would arrive at Elkader Country Club to compete for the illustrious Green Jacket. Only Dan Klook and Denny knew the formula for the handicapping. Denny was loved by everyone and his biggest achievement was his ability to make us laugh. He showed that love to his favorite people, his grandchildren and great grandchildren, by always staying in touch with them and his fun nicknames. He had the best way of making everything special and we all have our own individual memories of our time at our favorite gathering place, the cabin.  Each grandchild has stories and memories with him that made them feel so important.


In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider donating to a family account so we can purchase a memorial to place at our family cabin in Long Lake, Wis., where we all share our happiest memories together.  Venmo: @Kari-Bennett-2; Paypal:


The world is a little dimmer without Denny (Pode). OHIO-MOKO-HIO  


Please join us for a lunch and a celebration of life at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, at Embassy Suites banquet room, Plainfield, Ind. Arrangements by Hampton-Gentry Funeral Home, Plainfield, Ind.

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