Deborah “Debbie” Kay (Nelson) Harmening


Deborah “Debbie” Kay (Nelson) Harmening was born March 18, 1952 to Bernard and Ruth Nelson in Redfield, SD, and passed away October 15, 2022 in Mesa, AZ surrounded by loving family. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 am October 25, 2022 at the Redfield Methodist Church with Pastor Jordan Louks officiating and a luncheon will follow. Visitation with the family will be held from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm October 24 at the Redfield Methodist Church. 

   Debbie was the fifth of eleven children and grew up on a farm a few miles from Redfield. She was such a blessing to her parents and she loved baking, sewing and caring for her baby sister Karen. Debbie graduated from Redfield High School in 1970 and married Dennis Harmening (from Tulare, SD) shortly after graduation. They made their home in Gary, IN where Dennis served in the Navy Reserves and worked at Bethlehem Steel. Debbie was a proud Navy wife and supported Dennis as he was transferred to Adak, AK and then San Diego, CA. They welcomed their son, Darel, in 1973, and were then transferred to Illinois where Debbie worked at La Petite Preschool. When they were transferred to Virginia, Debbie made the decision to attend nursing school; she graduated from DePaul School of Nursing. She loved her nursing education and she loved being a nurse. She especially loved providing care in the critical care unit. She became an outstanding cardiac care nurse and worked at hospitals in Washington, DC and Jacksonville, FL as Dennis served in the Navy in those locations. She was an amazing, proud Navy wife and mother, obtaining education, working and caring for her son while Dennis served aboard ship. Caring for others was truly her calling, and she was really, really good at it. 

   When Debbie became a doting grandmother, Debbie and Dennis moved to SD to be close to their grandchildren. She continued working critical care, and transitioned to traveling to have a more flexible schedule, providing care to patients in SD, AZ, MN and IA. She was always welcome because of her attention to detail and caring nature; she touched thousands of lives during her long nursing career.  Debbie and Dennis were also very involved in church activities, serving as youth leaders and lay leaders. She also enjoyed many family gatherings, sister weekends, traveling, and she loved taking long walks. She also became “Gigi”, a great grandmother of three sweet little girls and she truly loved this role.

   Debbie is survived by her loving husband, Dennis, her son Darel (Becky) Harmening, grandchildren AJ (Lauren) Harmening, Kaylee (Nate) Willis, Zachariah (MarLea) Harmening, Cole Kennedy and Clay Kennedy, great grandchildren Zoey, Teagan and Skyler, and by her kitty Daisy. Debbie is also survived by her siblings Linda Nelson, Wilbur “Bill” (Jannelle) Nelson, David Nelson, Susan (Marty) Warns, Donald Nelson, Steven (Donita) Nelson and Mary (Bruno) Himmler, and by her Aunt Betty Johnson, many nieces and nephews.

   Debbie is preceded in death by her infant children Deann and Daniel, her parents Bernard and Ruth, and her siblings Richard, James and Karen.

   Family asks for memorial gifts be sent to Prairie Center at Avera Cancer Center, Sioux Falls, SD, in lieu of flowers.