Sioux Falls

Dorothy Louise (Henjum) Van Laecken, 79, of Sioux Falls, S.D., passed away on Sunday, June 14, 2020, at her residence surrounded by family.

A funeral Service will be 10:00 a.m., Friday, June 19, at Miller Southside Chapel, 7400 S. Minnesota Ave., Sioux Falls, S.D. There will be a graveside service at 3:00 p.m. on Friday at the Butler Cemetery, Letcher, S.D.

Visitation with the family present to greet friends will be from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., Thursday, June 18, with a Prayer Service at 6:30 p.m. at Miller Southside Chapel, 7400 S. Minnesota Ave., Sioux Falls.  For online obituary and guest register go to the website at

Dorothy Louise (Henjum) Van Laecken was born October 24, 1940, in Chester, S.D., to her parents, Melvin and Mildred (Kapaun) Henjum.  She attended grade school at St. Anne’s Catholic School in Humbolt, S.D.  She graduated from Humbolt High School in 1958. Dorothy’s nickname in High School was “Thud” because she was always running late for class and made a thud sound when sitting down quickly at her desk.

After high school she moved to Sioux Falls, S.D., to attend Augustana College on a full paid scholarship.  After two years studying to become a concert pianist, she decided that being a mother took priority for her. While living in Sioux Falls over the years, she had various jobs from shoes sales and waitressing, to modeling for a local clothing store. She also lived in Sioux City, Iowa, and Kansas City, Mo. for periods of time in her younger years.

After many years of being a single mother, she was united in marriage on December 17th, 1980 to LeRoy “Red” Van Laecken of Letcher, S.D. They resided in Letcher for many years on a farm south of town.  When her husband decided to retire in 1999 from farming, they moved to an assisted living place in Mitchell, S.D. After her husband’s passing in 2001, she moved in with her youngest daughter and her family, who she lived with until her death.

Dorothy was a very resilient person with the life’s challenges that were presented to her.  She was the most giving person. She would give you her last dollar if you needed it. She would radiate positivity and when people would meet her they instantly loved her. Some of her family even thought of creating the Dorothy APP that was full of her positive sayings.

Some of Dorothy’s favorite things were eating ice cream, going out to eat, spending time with family, parties, camping at Lake Vermillion, feeding the ducks at Arrowhead park, going to the zoo, but most of all she loved the Lord.  She loved going to church or watching church on TV on Sundays. She constantly listened to 96.5. She had a strong faith, and enjoyed her life even though a lot of her life was not easy. 

Grateful for having shared her life are her children, Mary Hallickson, Travis (Missy) Henjum, Martha (Eric) Lang, Greg (Lana) Hallickson; her grandchildren, Aubrie, Alayna, and Ava Lang, Paul and Amber Heeren, Jerzy and Jacy Henjum, and Justin Hallickson; her great grandchildren, Nathan, Eve, and Ben Hallickson; her sister, Patty (Larry) Bjurstorm, numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Roy; brothers, Jim, Larry Henjum, Jerry Howard; parents, Melvin and Mildred; grandson, Paul; grandparents, Elizabeth and Fred Kapaun, and Nels and Jonetta Henjum.

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