Lisa Marie Dienst, 52, of Maple Park, formerly of Thomson, Ill., passed away Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, at her home, surrounded by the love and prayers of her family.
She was born Sept. 9, 1962, in Clinton, Iowa, the daughter of Robert and Dorothy (Kustes) Pannell.
Lisa grew up in Thomson and graduated from Thomson High School with the Class of 1980. She graduated from Mount Saint Clair College in 1984 before receiving her masters degree in accounting from Northern Illinois University.
A blind date and a little hand from cousin Billy Powers brought Lisa and Michael Dienst together. Unfortunately, their first date quickly became something of a disaster. Luckily there was a second date, and that is where their love story officially began. Two years later, they walked down the aisle as man and wife on Sept. 13, 1986.
They began their new life together on Airport Road in Sycamore for a time before moving to Maple Park, and welcomed four children. Later, they moved just two miles down the road after buying Michael’s grandfathers farm.
Although Lisa worked at the National Bank and Trust in Sycamore for 10 years before spending the rest of her career at Northern Illinois University as an internal auditor, her true vocation was that of a farmer’s wife. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lisa was a member of St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Maple Park, and later taught Religious Education there.
Lisa loved any kind of music and dancing, as well. Despite a career in accounting, she loved being a farmer’s wife and all that it entailed. One facet of farm life that was near and dear to her heart was the family raising 4-H pigs.
Her kids were her universe, and she was more than happy to have her life revolve around them. Lisa always encouraged her children not only in school, but also any extracurricular activity that caught their attention. From volunteering at school, FFA and 4-H to baseball, football, track and soccer, Lisa never missed an opportunity to be their biggest cheerleader. Lisa had a deep and abiding faith that gave her the foundation in life that nothing could wash away.
She was funny, always had a smile to give, and had the unique ability to find things to be thankful for no matter how dark times became. She never met a stranger, and was also generous with anything she had, but was the last to ask for help.
Lisa was an avid reader and loved reading all kinds of books—from the Bible to a wide selection of fiction, everything fit the bill.
No matter what the calendar held, Lisa always made sure the family went camping together all across the country, making memories with every campfire. They also took a ski trip to Colorado, and most recently the family went to Wisconsin, where she made the snow fly while riding on a snowmobile.
Lisa was so full of energy that sometimes it was tough to keep up, especially if she was logging mile after mile as she power walked or rode her bicycle (sometimes loaded with one of her children on the extra bike seat, and more in the trailer behind) across the countryside. The only time she stayed still was when her favorite show, “NCIS,” was on television.
Lisa was a coffee lover and never accepted anything less than her favorite Gevalia, which of course she ground herself.
Although Lisa was a busy person, it was the time she spent with family and friends that she loved the most. Lisa was an extraordinary person who made her mark and will never be forgotten.
She is survived by her loving husband, Mike; four children, Meghan, Scott, Mitchell and Brett Dienst; her father, Robert Pannell; three siblings, Barb Lawrence, Ed (Susie) Pannell and Richard (Jenny) Pannell; many nieces, nephews and a countryside of friends.
She is preceded in death by her mother, Dorothy Jane Pannell.
Visitation will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 6, at the Novak Center, next to St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, County Line Road, Maple Park. A Mass will take place Saturday, March 7, at 10 a.m., at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church. Fr. Perfecto Vasquez, pastor of the church, and Fr. Joachim Tyrtania, pastor of St. Peter Roman Catholic Church, Aurora, will concelebrate.