Ellen (Thorson) Onnen

October 4, 1925 ~ February 16, 2020 (age 94)


Ellen Jorgena (Thorson) Onnen, 94, went to be with the Lord on Sunday February 16th. She resided in Park Center and passed peacefully in her sleep and is now with her husband Dale in heaven on what would’ve been his 95th birthday.  

Ellen was born in Vincent, Iowa on October 4th, 1925, the daughter of Arthur Elvin Thorson and Amelia Peterson and was one of five children. The family moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa when she was an infant. 

Nursing was always Ellen’s first career choice and when she graduated high school at 17, she had to wait until she was 18 to enter Lutheran Hospital in Sioux City as a Cadet Nurse. She was dating a young man named Glen who introduced her to his friend who was about to leave for the Air Force and this friend was Dale Onnen. When Dale received his wings and commission as a pilot, Ellen took leave of absence from training and they were married. They moved around to various Air Force bases in Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Florida, and when Dale was to be transferred to Greenland, Ellen returned to Fort Dodge, Iowa to resume her nurses training.

Dale and Ellen eventually moved to Iowa City, Iowa where she worked at various jobs in the ER, was supervisor of Children’s and Orthopedics Hospital and did private duty at Mercy and University Hospital.

After Dale’s internship in Rockford, Illinois they moved to Newton, Iowa. Dale and Ellen were active church members and charter members of Holy Trinity Lutheran. She was active in the hospital auxiliary and served two terms on the board, and also enjoyed being part of the P.E.O. Sisterhood and was initiated in 1960 as a member of Chapter LC.

Her hobbies and interests were her husband, children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren. She considered herself an amateur astronomer, loved to garden, read and travel and she and Dale were so much fun to watch ballroom dance at the Newton Country Club.

Surviving her are her sister Maurine Timmer; son Timothy Dale Onnen (Janet Onnen), grandson Erik A. Onnen and great grandchildren William Lawrence Onnen and Amelia McCullough Onnen and granddaughter Sarah R. Onnen; daughter Ann Onnen white (William Richard), grandson Dr. Joshua T. White (Kim) and great grandchildren Corinne N. White and Broder W. White, grandson Judd R. White (Natalie) and grandson Dustin R. White; daughter Amy Sue Hermsen (Thomas Jon), grandson Matthew D. Hermsen and granddaughter Kerisa E. Hermsen Kent (Jason) and great grandson Karter T. Kent; daughter Jorgena Beth Knust (Michael) and grandchildren Laurel J. Knust and Jackson G. Knust

Her brothers Jacob, Russel and Sherwyn preceded her in death. 

The family will greet friends from 4-6 p.m., Friday, February, 21, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.  A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, February 22, at the church with a reception to follow burial.  In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church may be left at the services. The Wallace Family Funeral Home and Crematory is handling the services. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ellen (Thorson) Onnen, please visit our floral store.


February 21, 2020

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
1409 S 8th Ave E
Newton, IA 50208

Funeral Service
February 22, 2020

2:00 PM
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
1409 S 8th Ave E
Newton, IA 50208

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