Christmas Letter 2019

2019 Christmas Letter

June of 2019 was the two-year mark of our adventure in Estherville, IA with its blessings and challenges. No sooner had Judy completed our bi-weekly trips to Sioux Falls to complete the drug regimen and “insure” being freed from the threat of her colon cancer, than we received bad news from Josh and pancreatic cancer.

Josh hadn’t been feeling well in February, which turned out to be a real blessing as when the surgeon went in to get rid of the  stone that was causing his problems, they discovered a tumor in his pancreatic duct. He underwent a major “Whipple” surgery to remove part of his pancreas, a section of intestine and the gall bladder. We are very thankful that the cancer was found much earlier than for most people with pancreatic cancer, and now that he has completed a tough six month chemo regimen, our prayer is that he too will not be further impacted after this bout with cancer. Both he and Judy are slowly recovering strength and stamina/energy.

We were very thankful that Randy and Terri Richmond came up from Louisiana to support our family through the surgery, and it ended up being the first of many weeks we were able to spend together with Terri spending time with us and Judy spending time in Louisiana, plus two vacations together.

In July we went to Yellowstone National Park together and after coming back to Estherville and funeral services for Winnie Reed, we ended our excursion together in Branson, MO.

Crazy Horse Monument

In September we went to Louisiana and left together on a cruise to Key West, FL and Nassau in the Bahamas, topped off with Continuing Ed.

We enjoyed a family vacation together at Cutty’s at the Lakes in August with Mat, Nate and Josh’s families that coincided with Mat coming back to Iowa to be in a wedding and take Continuing Ed.

Amber and Kyler proud fisherman

We had a cold, wet, late spring, that was challenging for farmers, and getting the garden going was a difficult process, but bountiful yields of strawberries, beans, tomatoes, onions and sweet corn meant a great deal to share with others.

Lance and Aliyah with cat and chicken
Sweet Potato Fries
Freezing 5 gallons of sweet corn

We enjoyed different combinations of the grandkids coming a number of times through the year, and Judy seems to get frequent calls to head one direction or the other for grandmother duties.

Robert Ullom in Flandreau, SD

Dave again trained for the Senior Games, but was unable to compete in Des Moines because of a funeral, but did go to Watertown, SD in September and came home with his usual haul of medals. He is very thankful to be able to compete and succeed against tough competition. A serious downside was a pulled hamstring while fighting to stay ahead of a US record holder from Arizona who participated in the racewalk events.

Most of the medals

Dave is again involved as a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at the high school as well as officiating wrestling, and still competing.

This year our family holiday together is Christmas, and we will gather at Nate and Amber’s. We had our annual day of cutting and splitting wood to heat his shop for the winter after Thanksgiving.

Mat has his Chiropractic practice in Fort Collins, CO. Noah is now 13 and Levi is 11.

Nate has his construction and snow removal business in Storm Lake, IA. Amber is on the road a lot as a foster and adoption caseworker. Kyler is 4 and Kenzie is one.  

Josh and Danielle are in Apple Valley, MN, and the remodeling project on their house is closer to done and Dave put in a handful of days doing the most labor-intensive deconstruction work as well as some of the construction. Aliyah is now 9, Lance is 7, and Cooper 4.

Ben and Christina are in Tea, just south of Sioux Falls. Ben works at the Penitentiary and Christina is a substitute pre-school teacher in Sioux Falls. Jace is 8 and Avalynn is 6.

2019 again has had its fair share of struggles as well as so many wonderful blessings that we would like to share here, but instead decided to try and be brief while sharing a skeleton of information about our experiences at the same time.

A bit of disaster hit our home in October with a broken water pipe that flooded our basement with 8” of water that caused us to have to throw out a lot of Judy’s scrapbooking supplies, books, and the furniture in the basement, as well as tearing out the walls and carpets. A lot of work awaits to get it all rebuilt.

These woes were compounded when the new (used) mower burned up and the snow blower motor started clunking and died on only its 3rd use this winter, and then the front corner of our car tried to fit under the back bumper of a pickup and needs to be replaced…

We hope you enjoy these highlights. It is always fun looking back over the diary of details of the year and multiple hundreds of pictures that capture snapshots of the events of our very full lives. We hope you enjoy the few we have included here.

Kyler and Kenzie with Santa

We extend the invitation for you to stop and visit or stay over with us any time you have the inclination, after we finish our downstairs. You can find our home a mile east and 4¾ miles south of Estherville, or a mile east and ¾ miles north of Wallingford at 2180 410th Ave, Estherville, IA 51334.

May you find as many blessings as we enjoy.

Dave and Judy Ullom

515-341-0132 (Dave) or 515-341-2383 (Judy) or

You can find more pictures included on my blog at

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