SIOUX CENTER—Longtime Sioux Center mayor Dennis Walstra died Sunday, May 26, after a short battle with lung cancer. He was 70.
Walstra was about halfway through chemotherapy and radiation treatments as well as some rounds of immunotherapy after being diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer earlier this spring. He was admitted to he Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD, on May 8 with inflamed lungs and had been on high doses of oxygen while his lungs continued to struggle to function correctly.
On Monday, May 20, his family received news that the medications and steroids Walstra had been on were not working and that the inflammation had gotten worse. He died Sunday surrounded by family.
Walstra has served in city government since 2002, when he was elected to the Sioux Center City Council. He was elected mayor in 2004 and has held that position ever since.
“It was truly a pleasure to work with and for mayor Walstra,” said city administrator Scott Wynja. “He provided great vision and leadership through working with the city council and staff and had an obvious passion for this community.”
He also owned Walstra’s Plumbing & Heating in Sioux Center since 1983, according to his LinkedIn page.
“Two things stand out the most regarding what I appreciated about Denny,” said utilities manager Murray Hulstein. “He was always wiling to give up the most precious thing and that’s your time. He did that not just for the council but he also was very active with APPA.”
Walstra was a past president and member of the Policy Maker’s Council of the American Public Power Association in Washington, DC. He was also a member of the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee of the National League of Cities in Washington, D.C., as well as a member of the National Advisory Council of Dordt University.
“Also, Denny was passionate about Sioux Center,” Hulstein said. “He always wanted to do what was best for the community, what was for the best of Sioux Center. He truly believed in progress through cooperation.”
Funeral arrangements were pending.
This is a developing story.