Dena Achey-Stanerson, 52, of Conroy, died Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, at the Compass Memorial Hospice Suite after a long battle with brain cancer. She was diagnosed with two brain tumors in October 2009.
Dena was born in Cedar Rapids on
March 1, 1968, to Roland and Cheryl (Hillyer) Achey. She grew up on a small acreage near East Amana and loved all aspects of being a farm girl. While attending Cedar Rapids Prairie High School, she was a member of the pom pom squad and played the clarinet in the marching band. Dena graduated high school in 1986, and then attended Kirkwood Community College. She majored in criminal justice and was a reserve officer for the Cedar Rapids Police Department. Later, she changed her major to administrative secretary. While attending college, Dena worked at Camelot Music, located in Westdale Mall. She really enjoyed working at Camelot Music and this is where Troy and Dena met.
Troy and Dena were married Sept. 11, 1993. The couple had two children, Sidney (26) and Tucker (21). After graduating Kirkwood, Dena worked at Pekin Insurance and Kinze Manufacturing. She worked at ACT Inc. from 1998 until her death. Some of her hobbies throughout her life included gardening, horseback riding, canoeing, snowmobiling, garage parties and spending time with her family and friends. Dena was always listening to music and her love of music took her to many fun concerts. Some concerts she attended were Farm Aid, the World's Biggest Beach Parties, Bruce Springsteen, ELO, Eagles and several others. Dena loved all things Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and was a lifelong fan of Bret Michaels and Poison. Through her loving team of friends and family, #DenasDefenders, she saw her lifelong dream come true when she had the opportunity to meet Bret Michaels during his Unbroken World Tour-Hometown Heroes concert in November 2019. This Christmas, she also received a personalized message from Bret Michaels.
Dena is survived by husband, Troy Stanerson; children, Sidney and Tucker Stanerson; her parents, Roland and Cheryl (Hillyer) Achey of Fairfax; mother- and father in-law, Keith and LaMar (Huedepohl) Stanerson of Conroy; brother and sisters-in-law, Brian (Barb) Stanerson, Bridget Stanerson and Toby (Sonya) Stanerson; and 11 nieces and nephews.
Dena was preceded in death by her grandparents, Edward and Gladys (Rekemyer) Achey, and Warren and Nelda (Kahler) Hillyer; uncle, Dennis Travis; aunt, Judith Hillyer; and cousin, Ellen Cutts.
Dena would like to thank the many members of #DenasDefenders for all the support they gave her while battling brain cancer. She was also very grateful to everyone who helped with her benefit, meal train, cards and flowers, along with the many visits from friends and family. She was especially thankful for her children who were always there to take care of her and do household chores. Dena felt very blessed to have all the loving support she received.
A celebration of life visitation will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, at the Gathering Barn, 350 W. Evans St., Williamsburg. The family will have a small private funeral at First Lutheran Church in Conroy at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1. The service will be livestreamed on Powell Funeral Home's website and Facebook page. A memorial fund has been established for First Lutheran Church in Conroy and Essence of Life Hospice in Amana. Powell Funeral Home in Williamsburg is caring for services. Messages and tributes may be left at www.powellfuneralhomes.com.