Dennis D. Railsback

Dennis D. Railsback

1941 – 2024


IDA GROVE - Dennis D. Railsback, 82, of Ida Grove, passed away on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at his farm near Ida Grove.

A Private Family Celebration of Life and Christian Committal Service will be held this summer. 

The Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home of Ida Grove, will be handling the arrangements. Condolences may be sent online at

Dennis Dale Railsback, the son of Clinton and Mildred (Morris) Railsback, was born on July 17, 1941, in Cushing. Dennis had two older brothers, Reggie and Wayne and a younger brother Bob. His family belonged to the Church of God and moved between Iowa and South Dakota, buying and selling farms. Eventually, in 1950, they settled on a farm 8 miles south of Ida Grove in Hayes Township, known as “The Home Place”, where Dennis and his brothers helped their father run a successful farming business. 

Dennis considered himself extremely fortunate to have been born when he was and getting to grow up in the 1940s and 1950s, and for being born in the state of Iowa with his dad as a farmer. Growing up, Dennis had lots of good times with his brothers working and playing on the farm. 

Dennis attended high school in Ida Grove and enjoyed playing center on the football team. He also played trumpet in the school band. He graduated from Ida Grove High School with the class of 1960.

After graduation, Dennis lived in Davenport for a short time before moving back to the Ida Grove area. Dennis also proudly served his country in the Army National Guard from 1962 to 1968, going through Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Dennis started farming near Schleswig and south of Ida Grove, beginning by renting land and sharecropping. In 1968, Dennis bought his first farm near Cushing, and began farming his own land. In 1973, Dennis bought “The Home Place” from his father Clint and moved back to the farm where he grew up. He loved this farm and stayed there for the rest of his life.

Dennis also had an entrepreneurial spirit and did several things over the years along with his successful farming business. He became a real estate broker and enjoyed putting together real estate deals on farmland and other properties. Dennis raised and sold Black Angus bulls early in his farming career. He also sold Conrad American Grain Bins and was proud of the grain bins he added to his farm and the ones that he sold and helped build around our area.

Dennis had a very successful farming career and was able to retire from active farming quite early at only 58 years old. Dennis continued to manage his farms throughout his life. His business relationships and friendships with the farmers who rented his land were very important to him. Dennis kept on buying farmland in Iowa throughout his lifetime and was very goal oriented and driven in his management of his farms. Dennis achieved his goal of buying farmland with his son Matt which was very special to him. Dennis loved driving his pickup around to look at his farms and check the crops. Dennis took his children and grandchildren on many farm tours as he was very proud to show them his accomplishments and share his love for the farms.

Besides his family, Dennis’ other love was horses, owning and caring for at least 19 horses and ponies during his life. He enjoyed riding, breaking, and training horses growing up and had a lot of fun riding horses with his children and grandchildren. Dennis enjoyed going to many different rodeos, fairs, horse sales, and horse races with his family. Dennis even took time out of planting one May to go pick out and buy a pony for his daughter Faye on her sixth birthday.

Dennis liked having coffee with his buddies and getting to talk about farming. He especially liked going to look at farms with his friends. Dennis always loved going to movies and liked watching them at home too, especially Westerns or cowboy movies.

Dennis had two children, Faye Jean (Railsback) Senne born in 1970 and Matthew Clint Railsback born in 1978. They have wonderful memories of times together on the farm. Dennis always enjoyed time spent with his children whether it was the annual trips to the Black Hills, South Dakota, family vacations, boating at Okoboji, going to see family, or traveling to Mexico.  

Dennis married Norma Schrank on Aug. 6, 1986. They were married for almost 38 years. Dennis and Norma enjoyed traveling to many places like the Black Hills, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Tucson and San Diego. Their favorite destination was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where they made their winter home. Dennis and Norma decided on the flight home from a vacation in Puerto Vallarta that they had found the place they both wanted to retire. They started staying longer and longer, starting with a few weeks and eventually staying about eight months a year and having dual residency. Dennis and Norma enjoyed being on their long vacations and made lots of friends and memories in Puerto Vallarta. Both Dennis and Norma felt very fortunate to have over 38 years of getting to travel and over 20 years enjoying retirement in Puerto Vallarta.

Dennis was very proud of his children and grandchildren, and they made many special memories together. Dennis enjoyed going to the Iowa State Fair, Blank Park Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, rodeos, pumpkin patches, horse sales, The Science Center of Iowa, SmashPark, Tucson and other special places with his kids and grandkids. Dennis had many blessings in his life but being a father to Faye and Matt and becoming a grandpa topped his list.

Left to cherish his memory are Dennis’ wife Norma Railsback of Ida Grove; daughter Faye Jean (Todd) Senne of Urbandale; son Matthew (Nancy) Railsback of Tucson, Arizona; grandchildren, Violet Senne, Faline Senne, Jake Senne, Meredith (Ben) Davis, Arlo Railsback, and Roxy Railsback; step children: Sheri (Kerry) Rowe of Le Mars, Sandi (Chad) Kounkel of Hinton, Steve (Lori) Schrank of Le Mars; step grandchildren: Cassie Rowe, T.J. Kounkel, Tate Kounkel, Jennifer (Brad) Segebart, Sara (Archie) Kelly and Brett (Tiffany) Schrank; seven great grandchildren; brother Robert (Janice) Railsback of Odebolt; many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Dennis was preceded in death by his parents Clinton and Mildred Railsback; brother Wayne Railsback; brother Reggie and sister-in-law Betty Railsback.


Services: Private Family Celebration of Life and Christian Committal Service will be held this summer

Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home • Ida Grove • 712-364-2727



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