DeAnna (Dee) Kenison passed away peacefully at home in Laramie, Wyoming, on April 30, 2020. She was born in Hamilton, Montana, on Jan. 25, 1941. Dee survived polio as a child and because of this she used a leg brace and crutches throughout her life. This never slowed her down, she loved to ride horses, dance, and swim. She graduated with teaching degrees in Home Economics and Library Science from MSU where she was a president and a four year member of her sorority, Pi Beta Pi. She married Bob Kenison in 1961. Dee and Bob had two sons, Timothy and Richard who both died shortly after birth. Through adoption they were able to expand their family and Dee was a caring and dedicated mother to two daughters, Cheri and Pam; and two sons, Mike and Chris.
Dee founded the Prairie Puppet and Costume Company while living in Green River, Wyoming. Dee made most of the inventory of both puppets and costumes. She entertained countless children and adults over the years with her puppet shows and storytelling. She visited schools, churches, youth groups, senior centers, and birthday parties; delighting all with her songs and stories. Dee used her home economics degree to teach classes to the students at many schools in Laramie and Green River, and G.H. Bell Elementary School, a private school all her children attended. She taught her students to sew, cook, and can. She also taught classes through the extension office at the local community college. She introduced microwave cooking in the 1970’s and taught puppet making classes to local teachers. Dee was also involved in many community organizations and fundraising events.
Dee was a master seamstress. Over the years she created beautiful wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, children’s clothing, and doll clothes. During the many years she lived in Green River, she made the first ever mascot costume for the Green River Wolves sports teams. She also created a fashion show of woman’s styles through the ages, beginning with Martha Washington and going through the 1980s. She presented her fashion show for woman’s clubs and lady’s groups throughout Wyoming and Montana. Dee loved the county fair and she won many, many ribbons for her sewing, canning, baking, and flower arrangements. She served as a judge for food and sewing projects at County Fairs for many years.
Dee’s love of sewing continued throughout her life, even as her dementia advanced and she was confined to a wheelchair, her memory of sewing stayed with her. She spent her twilight days working on her potholders, the familiar sound of her old Singer and the feel of the fabric kept her mind and hands busy. She loved to share her gift with others, and she gave her potholders to friends, church members, nurses, visitors, the mailman, and anyone she met; spreading her unique brand of kindness and generosity to everyone with whom she came in contact. Her last business venture was a little project she had with Pam called Nanna’s potholders, which found a larger audience for her projects and provided a bit of revenue for Bob to continue to supply her with colorful and creative fabrics for her potholders.
Dee was very active in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, throughout the years she served on various committees and taught sabbath school classes for the children of the church. She was the head deaconess while living in Green River and again for the Cheyenne, Wyoming, church. Her favorite church activity was singing special music with Bob and, of course, telling the children stories and giving puppet shows.
Dee is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 59 years, Bob; their four children, Cheryl, Pam, Mike and Chris; and her sister Gloria Shook Curdy (Willis) of Missoula. Dee has eight grandchildren including two sets of twins; Austen, Kayla, Haylee and Hollie (Mike’s twins) Mara, Alysa; and Cami and Jada (Chris’s twins). Dee has seven great-grandchildren including another set of twins; Owen, Natalee, Noah and Easten (Austen’s twins), Emmersen, Izaias, and Azariah. All her grandchildren and great-grandchildren lovingly called her Nana.
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