born May 27, 1924, through July 6, 2022

daughter of:

JDR (Johnny) and Bessie Elizabeth Hensey Dennis, Pomona, KS

Iris Viola Dennis Casey passed peacefully and gracefully in her sleep the morning of July 6, 2022.  She was 98 years old.  Daughter, Carol, was at her side, who had lived with and taken care of her for the last five years. Iris is survived by her brother, Glen Dennis (Betty) of Grand Junction CO; and one sister, Lelia Habiger of Topeka, KS, four children, eight grandchildren, and fifteen great grandchildren, with one in the oven.

Iris was born and raised in Franklin County, Kansas. Although she lived for periods of time in Minnesota and California, she lived the majority of her life in Kansas. She was raised as a country girl, working on the farm and with livestock. Her father and grandfather traveled while racing horses and often took Iris with them.  This association with living with country people and racing may have given her the spice of life and the confidence to take on whatever came at her. She had many careers in her lifetime, including being a “Rosie the Riveter” in Wichita during World War II putting together airplanes. She worked a number of jobs, always contributing and doing her share. As her children were growing up she was a dedicated, Midwestern mother and housewife.

Iris will be missed.  We will remember her for her deep and genuine interest in the people around her. She had a way of making whoever she was with feel special, and being with her was special.  Perhaps her most remarkable trait (among many) was her positive attitude.  She lived almost a century through all kinds of ups and downs, and throughout it all she looked for the best in the situation and the people around her. She made and kept lifelong friends.

Everyone will tell you she had “spirit” and a zest for life. We are lucky to have been a part of her life.              Mark Willhite

Married 18 years to Dale Willhite (deceased), the father of her four children; worked various jobs, the last as insurance auditor.  Dale was a US Navy pilot on ocean carriers and a college athlete.

Married 10 years to DeWayne Lofgreen (deceased), the son of Ottawa doctors and a farmer;

Married 40 years to Patrick Joseph Casey (deceased), many years with United Airlines and extensive travel was a perk.  No one could have adored Iris more, despite their 19-year age difference (unless it was Dale).

In loving memory from children:

Dalena Willhite Acton, Maquoketa, Iowa

Mark (and Beth) Willhite, Sandy, Oregon

Steve (and Debbie) Willhite, Emporia, Kansas

Carol Willhite Dodge, Lawrence, Kansas

grand and great grandchildren:

Paul (& Stephanie) Acton, with four children

Sean (& Vikki) Acton, with two children

Christian Dodge, with two children 

Allegra Willhite

Melissa Smith, with two children

Brian Willhite, with two children

Dalen (& Kerry) Willhite, with one child and the second on the way

Matthew (& Andrea) Willhite, with two children

Leave a Prayer or Memory for “IRIS D. CASEY”

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