A life’s adventure may begin even before birth. This is such the case for Denise Renee Risvold (Vikturek). She was conceived in the territory of Alaska where her father, Stanley Risvold, was stationed in Fairbanks. Near Denise’s due date, the doctor recommended that her mother, Norma Peterson Risvold, return to her family’s home in Iowa to safely deliver her first born. Norma hopped a charter plane to Seattle where Denise’s Auntie Tootie met the two adventurers. The sisters—precious cargo in tow—arrived safely to Alta, Iowa in time for the birth. Denise Renee Risvold (Vikturek) was born October 15, 1953.
As a child, Denise loved to ride bareback on Grandpa Russell’s horses, swing from the hayloft, shoot BB guns with her cousin and spend precious moments in Grandma Mavis’s kitchen (surely where her love of cooking was born). Her favorite childhood memories were of Sunday family dinners at Grandpa Russell and Grandma Mavis’s farm. As the family grew, she became a loving big sister to her three younger siblings, Rhonda, Robert, and Lorna. While Denise experienced many adventurous (and hilarious, in the eyes of her siblings, children and grandchildren after the stories were told) family vacations, she preferred to be at home surrounded by the beauty she cultivated and sharing it with the people she loved. There were enough closer-to-home joys to fill her heart.
Denise grew into a stunning woman with a gracious soul. She was a musician, writer, cheerleader, and beauty pageant winner. She attended Buena Vista College where she met her husband, David Allan Vikturek and earned an English degree. She spent her college summers working at Smitty’s in the fine jewelry department where she first realized that diamonds really were ‘a girl’s best friend’. Following graduation Denise and David were married on May 10, 1975, in Storm Lake, Iowa. Denise taught high school English for a year before the young couple set their sights on Phoenix, Arizona to be closer to family. Denise returned to her love of jewelry, working as a sales associate for Gordon’s Jewelry and became the proud mother of Aubrie in February of 1981 and Lauren in October of 1982.
The new family moved to Mason City, Iowa in 1983 and set down roots in this community. Denise was dazzling and created a home that mirrored her beauty where everyone loved to gather to enjoy her culinary treats, love and conversation. Denise opened The Diamond Store and grew it into a thriving business which has served the North Iowa community for the past 35 years.
More than anything though, Denise enjoyed quality family time sharing laughter, going for walks and playing games. She was a devoted parent attending to her daughters needs, hopes, and dreams. She prioritized being present for Aubrie’s countless music concerts, sporting events, and ice skating shows and was equally happy spending hours on the front porch with Lauren bathing in the beautiful dappled light formed by maple and oak trees lining the sidewalk. She gave Lauren, who was born with physical and cognitive disabilities, one of the most magical and special lives until Lauren’s death on March 22, 2019. Denise’s love and support extended to her nephews, Nicholas & Antonio where she fed their bellies, encouraged their rough and tumble ways, and cheered them on at many cross country and soccer events.
The heavens opened when her two grandchildren Harvey and Zinnia came into the world. Denise encircled these special cherubs with her love. Frequent FaceTime calls, packages, artwork, and letters kept them connected across the country and through a global pandemic. Starting in 2020 her grandchildren would visit for a month-long celebration of being together at ‘Grammy Summer Camp.’ Each August started a new 11-month cycle of planning, dreaming, and scheming for the following July.
Denise had a strong appreciation for nature and developed the hobby of gardening and caring for the butterflies and birds, curating her yard to be visited by many creatures. She was beautiful. She found beauty in all. And she wanted to surround the people she loved most with beauty.
In her nine-year-old grandson, Harvey’s words, “I loved to watch the birds with ‘Grammy-os’. My favorite bird is a cardinal, hers was the goldfinch. We would watch PBS-kids and play fun games together. She loved flowers, especially lilies and she always hoped they would bloom before we came to Iowa because they smelled so nice. Sometimes I got to go to her diamond store and it was fun. I could always feel her support no matter how far apart we were. She was the best Grammy ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Denise passed away peacefully in her sleep on November 12, 2022.
Denise is survived by, David Vikturek, husband of 47 years, daughter Aubrie Vikturek Kohlhas, (son-in-law Joseph Kohlhas), and grandchildren Harvey and Zinnia. Brother, Robert Risvold, (brother-in-law Robert Beale): sister Lorna DiMarco, (brother-in-law Nick DiMarco), nephews Nicholas (Erienne Davis) and Antonio, and dear family friend Larry Kollman.
She is preceded in death by her daughter, Lauren Jade Vikturek, parents Stanley Risvold and Norma Pedersen Risvold Zeeb, sister Rhonda Hasen, and maternal grandparents Russell and Mavis Pedersen.
A private celebration of life with immediate family and friends was held Saturday - November 26, 2022.
Memorials may be given to a charity of your choice in Denise’s memory.