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Ella Denucci 05/14/2024

Ella Otillea Wolf was born to Otillea and Chris C. Wolf in Long Lake, South Dakota on August 28, 1929. She spent her first nineteen years on the farm, which forged the incredible work ethic which was to define the rest of Ella’s life. According to her daughters, Ella’s energy extended to attending dances in those formative years; she was said to arrive early and stay as “late as she could get away with in those days”.
In 1947 Ella wed Henry Merkel. She raised her two daughters, Bonnie and Betty, in several places ranging from Aberdeen, South Dakota to St. Paul Minnesota. In 1968, she divorced Henry, and in 1973, She married Archie Denucci of Roberts, Wisconsin-a marriage that lasted over five decades. Ella and Archie lived and worked on the dairy farm for the better part of a lifetime. The farm was the family gathering place for Christmases and summer get-togethers, and Ella’s grandchildren cherish the fond memories of playing tag in the yard, eating pies and other desserts on stools in the kitchen, and seeing Grandma Denucci wave goodbye from the window as the cars pulled away, laden with presents-and boxes of apples and oranges, of course.
Ella’s indomitable work ethic gave her successful stints at a number of jobs when she was living in Roberts-chief among them was a job at Northwest Orient Airlines, where she made friends and impressed bosses-but she eventually settled into the work on the dairy farm. She was caretaker to the calves in particular (two of which were named Bonnie and Betty, to the endless entertainment of the family) and the legions of wild cats that populated the barns.
Later, when the farm sold, Ella and Archie retired to Hudson, Wisconsin. For Ella, retirement never meant “quitting work”, as she cooked and baked for Ladies Aid at Trinity Lutheran in her later years. Ella’s famous manner of direct speech translated well to her dessert-making too-one of her daughters described it as the “maximum amount of sugar in the available space”.
In her last years, Ella dealt with increasingly severe dementia. Of course, she did not complain about it- “somebody’s got it worse” was a Grandma Denucci axiom-but the care of Archie gave her a wonderful quality of life in her twilight years. His love and devotion to Ella during this time was incredible. And she always enjoyed visits from Bonnie and Betty, whether it was going out to eat, taking a walk, or playing game after game of Chinese Checkers.
Ella’s family would like to thank the staff at St. Croix Hospice for all their wonderful care to both Ella and Archie.
Ella was preceded in death by her daughter, Betty (Laughlin); grandson, Daniel J. Ashton lll and granddaughter, April C. Ashton. She is survived by her devoted husband, Archie; daughter, Bonnie and Daniel Ashton, Jr.; son-in-law, Mark Laughlin; grandchildren, Joshua Ashton and Suzy Bordeaux, Abby and Jason Ball, Katie and Matt Eickhoff, and Wade and Emily Laughlin; and great-grandchildren, Bruce Blaisdell, Cody and Caitlin Ashton, Elisia, Samantha, Allison and Ava Ball, and Tessa, Cohen, and Booker Laughlin.
A Funeral Service will be held Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 11 am at Trinity Lutheran Church West Campus 1205 6th Street Hudson, WI and streamed live through the link just below this obituary.  Visitation will also be on Saturday from 10-11 am at the church.  Interment will be Ft. Snelling National Cemetery on Monday, May 20, 2024 at 11 am.  Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.

Click here to watch Ella’s service live on Saturday at 11 am


  • Mary C Shemon Posted May 15, 2024 11:55 am

    I am so sorry to see this Archie you have my sympathy sorry I cannot make it for I have other family commitments that day but i wanted to extend my condolences to you.

  • Julia Perry-Clark Posted May 16, 2024 2:24 pm

    Our prayers are with you as you gather together ❤️ to celebrate the life of your Grandma. Monty and Julie

  • Heidi Knegendorf Posted May 17, 2024 2:17 pm

    Hope your celebration is as wonderful as her life!

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