The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians confirmed Friday the death of Lena John Denson on June 11, due to complications from COVID-19. She was the former first lady of the Choctaw tribe. Her husband was Miko Beasley Denson, who served one term as chief.
Mrs. Lena, as she was known, was regarded as an important figure in the history of the Choctaw, described as a “strong woman of faith, love and compassion for her fellow Choctaw people.”
In a news release, the MBCI noted Mrs. Lena’s nearly three decades as the director of the Elderly Nutrition Program at the Choctaw Elderly Activity Center.
“How she served our Tribe was firmly guided by her Christian faith. She had a deep and genuine passion of caring for our Elders. Mrs. Lena was a gracious and compassionate public servant to the Choctaw people during her husband’s administration, and she continued to be an admired and inspirational person throughout our community in the years since.”
“During this time of the COVID pandemic the Choctaw people have had to mourn many deaths. We once again mourn alongside the family and friends of Mrs. Lena.”
Sadly, the death rate among the Choctaw Nation is higher than any other ethnic group, according to State Health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
Mrs. Lena will be laid to rest after a private graveside funeral.