Thelma May (Peter) Dennis to her home with her LORD, Friday, February 15, 2020. She had suffered from a stroke in the fall of 2019 and continued to deteriorate. Services will be held 10:30 A.M., on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at Carlson Funeral Home, in El Dorado, KS. Interment will be 11:30 A.M., Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at the Saint George Cemetery, in St. George, KS.
Thelma was born in Artesia, New Mexico, February 19, 1926, the third child of Burrel and Eva F. (O’Brien) Peter. Her family moved to Wichita Falls, TX when she was an infant due to her health and need for a lower altitude. After the birth of her brother the family moved to Kansas, where she was raised.
Thelma began attending St. George, KS high school in 1940 and graduated in 1944 after lettering in basketball all 4 years. Thelma was the tallest girl on the team the year she began playing basketball.
Thelma and Jesse Dennis married on October 12, 1944, in Wamego, KS. The union was blessed with six children, one dying a day after birth. Thelma played softball during the time her three oldest children where young. While raising her five children, the family twice lived in the telephone office in St. George, where she was the telephone operator. The family moved to El Dorado, KS in 1964 when Jesse began working for a local trucking company.
Thelma was a passionate gardener. She taught her children and grandchildren work ethics while they helped her garden. She taught them how to preserve fruit, vegetables and nuts. Besides feeding her own family, she fed many others from the fruits of her labor.
Thelma’s father was a jack of all trades, which included carpentry. Through shop class in high school and working beside her father, Thelma learned everything she needed to know to be able to build rooms onto a house. Through the years, she built a room onto a couple of their homes. Her oldest son worked beside her on at least one of these projects, as she had worked beside her father.
As a teen Thelma realized her quick and sharp temper was getting the better of her. She knew she needed to change, but didn’t know how. When she was introduced to the LORD Jesus, she started following Him. Through a close relationship with Jesus, the two of them worked on her temper and got it under control. He was faithful to care for her throughout her life. As an example, there was a time when literally the only food in the house to feed her 4 children, was a couple jars of baby food and a can of evaporated milk. She fed the children, put them to bed, then prayed. The next morning, God delivered so much food to the family that Thelma gave some of the food to others she knew were struggling financially.
Thelma believed in treating her body as a temple of God. She could be seen walking daily anywhere she could, to maintain her health and for many years she would fast and pray on Wednesdays.
Another of Thelma’s passions was teaching Sunday School. She also served as the Sunday School Superintendent and taught in Vacation Bible School.
Proceeding Thelma in death are: her parents, Burrel and Eva Peter; her husband, Jesse Dennis; her daughter, Geraldine; 2 brothers, Eldon and Thomas Peter; 2 sisters, Agnes Dugan and Leona Snowberger ; and Bernard Hammel, a cousin who was raised by Thelma’s parents.
Surviving are her five children, Jessie M. (Gary) Talkington, El Dorado, KS; Linda L. Dennis; Lowell E. (Susan) Dennis, El Dorado, KS; Katherine A. (Robert) McCombs, Wichita, KS; Dr. Douglas A. Dennis, Cedar Rapids, IA; 16 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, 5 2/3 great-great-grandchildren; sisters, Helen Lawrence, Bowling Green, KY; Virginia Manous, Corpus Christi, TX; sister-in-law, Rosella Peter, New Ulm, MN, as well as a goodly number of nieces and nephews sprinkled throughout the United States.
Please sign her online guestbook at www.carlsoncolonial.com
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