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Charlene Hjort

Charlene Denise Hjort died on November 23, 2023 in Urbandale, Iowa. Her funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 9, which would have been her 57th birthday, at 3 p.m. with visitation beginning at 1 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 3700 Cottage Grove, Des Moines, Iowa.

Charlene was born in Plentywood, Montana on December 9, 1966, the second daughter of Doug and Joyce Hjort. Three more daughters joined the family over the years as they lived in Montana, Virginia, eventually landing in Adel, Iowa. As a child, Charlene read constantly, even during at least one dental appointment, and showed exceptional skills as a musician from an early age. She began playing the violin in elementary school, which was then followed by mastering the piano, the trumpet, and becoming a tremendous vocalist. Throughout high school, she received numerous awards for her musical talents and frequently served as an accompanist for choirs and soloists. She was especially honored to play taps at funerals for veterans. One of her greatest joys was singing in church with her dad.

Schoolwork always came easily to Charlene, which led to many academic honors. After graduating from Adel-DeSoto High School in 1985, she attended Iowa State University. She then pursued a career in retail working at various shops in the Des Moines area. After many years in retail, she began working at Sears Credit in Des Moines, eventually moving to Chicago with the company and continued working there after a buyout by Citigroup. In 2007, she moved back to central Iowa with Citigroup and then worked for Principal Financial Group. Her most recent position was as office manager at Grace United Methodist Church from 2016 to 2022. In this position, she enjoyed making numerous connections with church members and volunteers.

One of Charlene’s greatest joys was spending time with her niece and six nephews. She frequently attended their school, music, sports, and church events. When the grand nieces and nephews arrived, there was a new generation to love and spoil. She also had a special place in her heart for corgi dogs, especially her corgi niece, Riley.

Charlene is survived by her sisters, Kathy (Rod) DeReus, Janine Reames, Coreen (Todd) Witke, and Colleen (Brian) Hjort-Frederiksen. She is also survived by her nephews Ben (Kelsie) DeReus, Jacob (Vikolia) DeReus, Jared Witke, Evan Witke, Christopher Reames, and her niece, Alexandria Reames. Grand nieces and nephews surviving her include Brinley, Daxton, Judah, Bartholomew, Che, Vanni, and Luka.

Charlene was preceded in death by her parents, Doug and Joyce Hjort, her nephew, Lucas DeReus, grandparents, and other family members.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the family for future designation.




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