Denise Ross

Denise was born April 20, 1970, in Watertown and was brought home on June 15, 1970, by Jerry and Linda Ross, who legally adopted her on February 22, 1971. Jerry’s work for Norwest Bank led the family to move around the state. Denise grew up in Mobridge, Aberdeen, Gregory, and Chamberlain, and the family frequently visited Sturgis, where Jerry and Linda were raised. She participated in gifted programs during her school years and was co-valedictorian of the Chamberlain High School class of 1988. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 1992. During her college years, she worked parttime at the Brookings Register, and interned at the Chamberlain Register and Rapid City Journal. She worked at SDSU’s student newspaper, the Collegian, and served a stint as editor. After college, she worked at a newspaper in Kearney, NE, before spending a year in the National Civilian Community Corps, an AmeriCorps community service program for young adults that was created in 1992. After completing her NCCC service in Denver, she worked in Lander, WY, for the Wyoming State Journal and Wind River News. In 1996, she joined the staff of the Rapid City Journal as a bureau reporter in the northern Black Hills. She lived in Sturgis and Deadwood before eventually moving to Rapid City. On Sept. 4, 1999, she married David Stuart Larson at Sylvan Lake. Also in 1999, she found her professional calling in a transition to government and political reporting for the Journal. She earned a reputation as one of the state’s best journalists while covering events including the 2002 U.S. Senate race in which Tim Johnson narrowly defeated John Thune, the 2004 manslaughter trial of former governor Bill Janklow, the 2004 U.S. Senate race in which Thune narrowly toppled Tom Daschle, and the 2006 statewide abortionban election. In 2006, she left the Journal to pursue her own journalistic endeavors. Building on her experience as one of the writers of the Journal’s popular Mount Blogmore political blog, she started her own political website, which she dubbed the Hoghouse Blog. She operated her blog through 2009 while also working on a documentary, “Unplanned Democracy: America’s First Vote on Abortion,” about South Dakota voters’ 2006 rejection of an abortion ban passed by the Legislature. The documentary was released in 2008. She was honored by the Journalism and Mass Communication Department at her alma mater, SDSU, as the department’s Lusk Fellow in Journalism in 2008. She gave birth to David Alexander Larson on Feb. 5, 2009, and Jerryd Ross Larson on April 18, 2010. She considered her sons to be her greatest achievements, and she worked to expose them to a wide variety of experiences and to foster their intellectual curiosity. She spent many hours reading classics of children’s literature with them. She went to work in 2010 as a communications specialist for Golden West Telecommunications. In 2011, she became a web editor/reporter for The Daily Republic of Mitchell, a job that allowed her to work remotely from her home in Rapid City while spending time with her boys. In 2011, at age 41, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She insisted on working through her cancer treatments and brought a laptop to her chemotherapy sessions. From 2013 to 2016, she worked as editor of South Dakota Dashboard, a project of the Black Hills Knowledge Network in Rapid City. While juggling family and work demands, she spent many hours battling her recurrent cancer. Denise Ross, 48, of Rapid City, died July 20, 2018, after a tenacious 6½ -year-long fight against cancer. She is survived by her husband, David Larson; her children, David and Jerryd Larson; and her parents, Jerry and Linda Ross, all of Rapid City; two brothers, Brian E. Ross and his wife, Karen, of Dunkirk, Maryland, and Steven P. Ross and his wife, Sheena, of Summerset, SD; a grandfather, Vernon E. Ross, and a grandmother, Arlene Ennis, both of Sturgis; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and in-laws. She was preceded in death by her grandmothers, Theckla Hartl and Sharon Ross; grandfathers, Morten Mortesen and Edgar Ennis; uncle, Leonard Ross; and cousin, David Ross. A celebration of her life was held Wednesday, July 25, 2018, at Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Denise Ross Cancer Fund. Joan

Chamberlain Sun

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