Dena (Olstad) Mathiasen

Dena Rachelle Mathiasen passed away peacefully with her husband by her side on July 13, 2014 at Evergreen Hospice Care Center, Kirkland, WA. 


Dena was born April 23, 1971 in Fargo, ND. Except for a few years in Audubon, MN, she attended school in West Fargo and graduated in 1989. She was a very successful member of the swim team as well as a state champion.  In 1992 she met and fell in love with her best friend, Tom Mathiasen. They were married at Elim Lutheran Church, Fargo on October 1, 1994. They were overjoyed at the birth of their daughter, Sydney, in 1996. 


Dena worked for Great Plains Software in Fargo for several years. In 2006 the family moved to Seattle, WA where she advanced her successful career with Microsoft. She truly loved her job and was able to travel abroad often. Dena bravely fought breast cancer for more than 5 years and was an inspiration to everyone who knew her, including her doctors and nurses.


She will be greatly missed by all her family and friends.  She was preceded in death by her father and mother-in-law, Jim and Marion Mathiasen, grandfather Erling Olstad, grandparents Oscar and Clara Norman and brother-in-law, Jimmy Gross.  She is survived by her husband Tom, daughter Sydney at home, parents Shirley Norman, Fargo, Denis (Janet) Olstad, Detroit Lakes, MN, sister Tracey (Chad) Pringle, Jamestown, their children Medora and Ryder, grandmother Verna Olstad, Valley City, sisters-in-law Dee (Becky Masica) Gross, Elk River, MN, their children Matt, Heather and Tara West, Joyce Dinndorf, Sartell, MN, her son Adam, brothers-in-law Mark Gross, Cold Spring, MN, John (Barb) Gross, Prescott, AZ, their children Ryan Brademeyer and Seana O’Brien.

19 Responses to “Dena (Olstad) Mathiasen”

  • Mike Sprecher says:

    Tom. No words can say how sorry I am. Dena was a Rock Star. She knew how to have fun and smiled all the time. I’ve been thinking of both of you since I heard. Just so sorry my friend.

  • Jan Wutzke says:

    Dena was an amazing women and very special friend. Her strength and determination were such an inspiration to me, I feel so blessed to have gotten to be friends with her. Praying for peace and comfort for the family.
    God Bless, Jan

  • Judy Aarsvold says:

    Heaven gained an amazing angel. You will be greatly missed cousin Dena.

  • clara johnson says:

    Dena will be remembered for her smile and her bubbly personality and I will always remember her as a toddler and waddling when she walked so hence the name I gave her (lovingly of course) as she is my niece, Granny Goose. Dena you gave one hell of a fight and we are so proud to call you family.
    Love forever

  • Shirley Norman says:

    Dena I was always so proud of you but none more than when I watched you put up the fight of your life! I never knew I raised such a strong woman but guess I shouldn’t be surprised, you have had some strong women in your family history. You were an amazing mom to Sydney and raised her to be such a loving, happy, and friendly girl. She is a blessing just like you were! I miss you terribly but know that you are in a better place without pain and that you don’t have to struggle every day. Donating your corneas was another act of unselfishness and kindness. You are my hero! Love you forever, mom.

  • Becky and Dee says:

    Dena, you will never be forgotten, we treasure our memories. Love you Sista!

  • Howard says:

    My sincerest condolences to Dena’s family and friends on your loss.

    Find strength in each other and in your memories of Dena.

    May the family be spared further sorrow.

  • Eva Majercsik says:

    My condolences on Dena’s loss and my prayers are with her family and friends.

  • Bo Lund says:

    I knew Dena from work, and she was an amazing inspiration to me when my wife battled breast cancer. She gave me hope and strength.

    Words cannot express the grief you feel at the loss of a loved one, but know the pain will diminish and the positive memories take over.

    Take strength from her amazing example and know she is in a better place waiting for the day you will be reunited!

  • Julie Hess says:

    Dena honored me by sharing her life journey as she relentlessly addressed cancer’s relentless challenges.

    Looking forward to this PERFECT celebration of Dena’s remarkable spirit and her valiant, giving, caring, joy-filled nature! She taught us that blessings abound, including the UNknown ones … and we get to celebrate additionally that we all have one more guardian angel in heaven. 🙂

  • Mike and Brenda Studebaker says:

    I knew Dena as the little neighbor girl, inquisitive, outgoing, and always 1 step behind big sister Tracey. I have not seen Dena since our kids both attended daycare at the Fargo Y, but I am still deeply saddened by the loss of a long lost neighbor and childhood friend. It sounds like you put up the kind of fight I would have expected you to. May all your loved ones find peace in knowing that you are pain free and in a better place waiting to see old friends once again. I will forever remember you and the rest of our friends every time I drive down 8th Street East in West Fargo 🙂

  • Brent and Paulann Haakenson says:

    Tom – Words cannot express how sorry we were to hear this terrible news. We are both very saddened by the loss of Dena. I will never forget her laugh! Although we had lost touch since you guys left West Fargo we thought of you often. It sounds like she gave it her all until the end..way to go Dena – may you now be at peace and pain free. Tom please know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your precious daughter. You both have a beautiful guardian angel watching over you!

  • Christi Kukes says:

    You, Dena and Sydney have never been far from my mind as I thought of you often and wished that we were not so many miles apart. Dena has always been a fighter, so I am glad to hear she never gave that up. My thoughts and prayers are to you and your daughter during this difficult time. I truly believe she is a heavenly angel watching over you, and most definitely making sure the rest of the angels are smiling and having a good time. Take care!

  • Laurie Resch says:

    Dena you were an amazing woman and someone that I was so blessed to be friends with. We had only gotten to know each other but even in that short amount of time you touched me so deeply. You were a true fighter thru the pain. We will continue to race for your cause every Friday night and bring awareness to others in your name. I made you that promise and I intend to keep it. Your friends Laurie/Brian/Dylan and Collin – For Dena’s family know that we are raising money in Dena’s name thru our race car at The car was designed for Dena specifically!!

  • Pam Sand-Hedstrom says:

    I worked with Dena at Tharaldson’s back in the 90’s and remember how thrilled she was when her daughter was born and how proud she was. I’m so sorry for your great loss. Very sad to hear this.

  • bruce gustafson says:

    Tom, Bruce Gustafson here just to let you know i am thinking of you. I am not on any of the social-media sites and didn’t hear about Dena until recently. We are all better for having known Dena that’s for sure and she will be missed very much. I hope to see you again soon i am so sorry. Bruce..(buzz)

  • Curt Weible says:

    Wow, a tough fight, and fight you did. I apologize to you and your family for being slow at just about everything that has to do with your passing. Last we got together was awesome seeing you and your family. I always remember the swimming days, loved it, loved the get togethers and all that. The good ole days.

    I missed the “celebration” here in Fargo due to my own selfish pursuits but could not be there due to other obligations. Tom and Sydney you had a great one there. Strong to the end. It was yet another awesome treat to see that you gave something positive to another with your donation.

    Great job Dena, you have set the bar high for others. You will be missed and loved for eternity.

  • Caleb Hamilton says:

    I didn’t know her but im Sydneys boyfriend and I care about her she sent me this

  • Caleb Hamilton says:

    I love Sydney very much and i met her dad tom and I care about Sydney and her family

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