Rev. Deanne “Dee Dee” deFreese Lundahl

Rev. Deanne “Dee Dee” deFreese Lundahl

April 27, 1944 – July 8, 2023

Pastor Dee Dee served as an Associate Pastor at Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church from 1998 to 2009. She was preceded in death by her parents, Rev. Dr. Paul deFreese and Mina Alberta; daughter, Annie Elizabeth Lundahl. She is survived by her brothers, Paul (April) deFreese, Rev. David (Anita) deFreese; sister, Jewel (Richard) Knapp.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE SERVICE: WED July 19, 2023, 6:00PM, Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church, 2650 Farnam St.

In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church, or Nebraska Children’s Society.

To view a live broadcast of the Service, please visit and click the “LIVE STREAMING” button at the top of the home page.


Deanne Kay Lundahl Statement of Memorial May 2023

Deanne Kay “DeeDee” Lundahl loved people and her life of ministry to all was a vivid demonstration of that! In one of her last writings, she clearly summed up her living: “I love people. I love that we are like butterflies – to be free as our Creator wanted us to be.”

Born April 27, 1944 in Hooper, Nebraska to Rev. Dr. Paul and Mina deFreese, DeeDee was the oldest of four children. At an early age, DeeDee took the responsibilities of being “mother’s helper” seriously. She loved to be in the middle of all the action whether in Hastings High School (graduating in 1962), at Midland Lutheran College (graduating in 1966), filling her summers with working at the YMCA of the Rockies or traveling with peer teams in a ministry of the Lutheran Church of America called “Caravanning.”

Following college graduation, she taught on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota and then served several years as Faith Formation Director for Grace Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. She continued her education at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, receiving a Masters of Arts degree in Christian Education. She then served as an Assistant to the Bishop in Wisconsin & Upper Michigan Synod of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) for several years, guiding congregations to grow in their Christian education and faith formation efforts.

DeeDee married Pastor Glen Lundahl in 1975 and together they moved to Longmont, Colorado. DeeDee served on the Parish Life and Ministry Development staff of the Rocky Mountain Synod from 1975 until 1980 and then as Parish Associate at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Boulder. Daughter Elisabeth Annie Lundahl was born on September 17, 1978.

When the LCA began ordaining women, DeeDee returned to LSTC to complete her Masters of Divinity degree and was ordained as a pastor of Word and Sacrament on October 27, 1985. She was called to serve as co-pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Master in Sacramento, California, from 1985 through 1993, and then as pastor of St John’s Lutheran Church in urban Sacramento. In 1998, Pastor DeeDee was called to serve as Associate Pastor of Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church in Omaha.

Throughout her ministry pastoral care, social outreach, and faith formation were her passion and expertise. DeeDee was gifted at developing relationships and encouraging others. Her love for children was only matched by their love for her. Each year preparation for Easter was special as children observed the life of a butterfly – from caterpillar, to cocoon, to new life as a butterfly! – exemplifying Easter’s message of new life in Christ. No wonder DeeDee loved butterflies!!

Upon retirement in 2009, she moved to Eugene, Oregon, and then to Sacramento to be near Annie. Following Annie’s death from cancer in December of 2015, DeeDee moved back to Omaha.

DeeDee was a natural extrovert who loved being with others and taking in the world around her. Along with a beautiful collection of nativity sets, butterflies decorated each of her homes. She loved traveling – most likely enjoying the people she was traveling with more than the sights. She had a special love of the Rocky Mountains.

DeeDee became the family wedding specialist, doing pre-marriage counseling and officiating at several of her nieces and nephews weddings. She helped make each one fun.

In her last years, DeeDee struggled with Alzheimer’s Disease but continued to share her good spirit and kind care for others. That was the final gift she gave us and we are grateful.

DeeDee is remembered for the joy she found in living and for her love of others. She will be greatly missed.



  • Helene Olsen Peterson Posted July 13, 2023 2:03 pm

    Dee Dee and I were freshman at Midland together and then Phi O’s together. She was such a delightful friend who loved the Lord. I’m sure there is much celebrating going on in heaven. May she rest in peace. Prayers for comfort for those who mourn her. She is smiling down on all of us. Blessings

  • Mary Tingley Posted July 13, 2023 2:04 pm

    I had the privilege of meeting DeeDee just a few times while she stayed with her sister and brother in law Jewel and Rich in AZ. She left a lasting impression on me, especially witnessing the bond and devotion between sisters. Jewel lovingly cared for Dee Dee throughout the death of Annie and no doubt prolonged her life and its’ quality until the last. May this be a lesson in love for all of us. Mary Tingley

  • Greggory Lundahl Posted July 16, 2023 10:25 am

    Dear friends and family of Dee Dee,
    You have my most heartfelt condolences at this time. Dee Dee reminded us all that our values frame our community here on Earth. That was her focus in the face of so many who make our world harsher. May we all continue to develop our empathy for the human condition.

  • Mary Hock Posted July 18, 2023 10:12 am

    My sympathy to the DeFreese family and particularly to Dave and Anita. May your joyful memories be comforting to you as you celebrate her life in the Lord.

  • Judy Beveridge Posted July 19, 2023 11:25 am

    Dee Dee was a student at Midland Lutheran College when I was there. It was obvious even then that she was a very special person. Spread your wings and fly, Dee Dee.

  • Janet Bergman Guthrie Posted August 3, 2023 10:25 am

    I remember Dee Dee from high school in Hastings, NE. She was on a very nice friend.

  • K. Alan McFerren Posted August 5, 2023 12:03 am

    Dee Dee was notable in our Class of 1962 as a consistently caring and fun loving person. We are all richer for having her in our lives.

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