Dennis Richard Shalla, 68, died May 14th just as corn was peeking through the soil and little calves dotted the hillsides along the IWV. He was born in Washington, IA, the son of Richard and Virginia (Donaldson) Shalla. He grew up on the family farm near Richmond, the carefree Lake Woebegon of his youth. He attended Holy Trinity Parochial School and graduated from Mid-Prairie High School. He loved running track and playing shortstop in the summer softball leagues. He also attended the University of Iowa where he met lifelong friends.
Dennis married his high school sweetheart, Elaine Marine, 48 years ago. They lived in the Wellman area until 2015 when they moved to Iowa City. Dennis farmed for many years. In 1987, the couple purchased Meacham Travel Service in downtown Iowa City, a business they owned for 33 years. Within weeks of the purchase, Dennis was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He was a patient and determined man who adapted as the disease took away many activities he loved. He was a dedicated father and so proud of his daughters, Hilary and Elyssa. He took the family to Chicago many times for a stay at The Drake, visits to Lincoln Park Zoo to see "the blob," and dinner at Ron of Japan's.
Dennis quizzed everyone on the music and artists of the 60s, 70s and 80s. It wasn't a "real Friday" without Pagliai's Pizza. Summers were for lightening bugs, Yotty's ice cream, planting trees, and the Cubs. He and his sister Sally chatted often about the ups and downs of the Cubs and Hawkeyes.
Dennis is survived by his wife Elaine Shalla and daughters Hilary Shalla (Derek Strong) of Newport Beach, CA, and Elyssa Shalla (Matt Jenkins) of North Rim Grand Canyon, AZ. Also surviving are sisters Sally (Jack) Drumgould, Sandra (Jim) Daugherty, Peggy (Paul) Basinger, and Cindy (Jay) Thrapp. Dennis was preceded in death by his parents.
Special thanks to Dr. Zeitler, Dr. Neiman, and Dr. Silverman, to the caring staff at Highland Ridge Care Center, and to Dennis' team from Iowa City Hospice. Each of you helped Dennis live his best and longest life. Dennis chose to donate his body to the Deeded Body Program at the University of Iowa to further research and learning. There will be no services. Powell Funeral Home in Williamsburg is assisting the family. Messages and tributes may be directed to www.powellfuneralhomes.com.
Memorials will be used to plant trees at F.W. Kent Park and may be sent to Johnson County Conservation, 2048 Highway 6 NW, Oxford, IA 52322. In the memo, please cite In Memory of Dennis Shalla.