Sioux Falls, SD: Aarika Lynn Maisak, 38, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, died August 22, 2022 surrounded by friends and family at the Dougherty Hospice House after a long battle with early onset colon cancer. A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, August 27, at 1:30 PM at the Hawarden Community Center in Hawarden, Iowa with Pastor Carolyn Salberg officiating. The service will be livestreamed at https://www.porterfuneralhomes.com/obituaries/aarika-maisak-1. Porter Funeral Home of Hawarden is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, Aarika wished for all donations to be given to the family for the children’s college education funds.
Aarika was born July 11, 1984, in Sioux City, Iowa, the daughter of Joel Johnson and Jennifer (Hisler) Martinsen. She attended West Sioux Schools in Hawarden, Iowa, throughout most of her youth. She attended college at the University of Utah and the University of South Dakota, and went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was married to Mark Maisak on October 6th, 2012. They had three brilliant, beautiful children: Libby, Ellis, and Thomas.
Aarika had a zest for life and would often be overheard scheming her next trip or adventure. She loved to travel, experience different cultures, and share these experiences with her loved ones. She lived an active life, and enjoyed road biking, rock climbing, trail running, cross country skiing, softball, kayaking, hiking, camping and anything else that would immerse her in nature.
One of Aarika’s greatest passions was her ability to help many people in her lifetime. She took great pride in providing mental health services as a licensed therapist to those in need, particularly teens and families. She had a love for education and learning, and always strived to be in a state of self-improvement. Aarika’s greatest accomplishment was becoming a mother, and she took immense pride in her children. She had an infectious smile, quick mind, great sense of humor and innate ability to connect with others. Her children, family and friends were treasured above all else.
Aarika was preceded in death by her grandparents: Thomas Hisler; Herb and Mary Ann Johnson. She is survived by Mark Maisak and their children, Libby, Ellis, and Thomas Maisak; her grandmother, Della Hisler; her parents, Joel and Carolyn Johnson, Bill and Jennifer Martinsen; her siblings: Aaron Johnson, Andrew (Courtney and Leo) Johnson, Jeff Johnson (and family), Jamie Johnson (and family), Taren Brenner (and family), Tate Martinsen (and family), and Toni Martinsen; and life-long friends, Megan Sengos and Cathy Andela-Ruth.
Throughout her cancer journey, Aarika encountered multiple survivors and health providers who assisted her on the difficult journey, and she was extremely grateful for the love and tireless efforts of her care teams at Utah Cancer Specialists, Utah Gastroenterology, the Mayo Clinic, Avera Health, and Dougherty Hospice Home. Aarika will be donating her body to the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota to help provide future generations knowledge of early onset colon cancer.