Isabelle Marie “Mimi” Henson, longtime resident of Quincy and loving mother of two children, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 10 after a short illness.
Isabelle Marie Arthurs was born Dec. 23, 1924 in the prairie town of Avonlea, Saskatchewan, Canada, where she spent most of her childhood. During World War II, she migrated across Canada before settling in Vancouver, British Columbia.
While living there and near the end of the War, she met her future husband, James Franklin “Bud” Henson, at a dance for military service members. Upon discharge from the U.S. Army at Fort Lewis, Bud returned to his family home in southwest Missouri and was soon joined by Isabelle.
They were married in August of 1947 at Pineville, Missouri and lived in the area for several years, bringing a daughter and son into the world.
Isabelle longed to be closer to her Canadian family, so she and Bud moved with their two young children to Washington in the summer of 1956. They landed in the small boom-town of Quincy, then a dusty and almost treeless place, but with the promise of newly-irrigated farmland and an abundance of employment opportunities created by the New Deal.
They quickly purchased a home on H St. Southwest, where Isabelle resided until the autumn of 2015. She then moved down the street to The Cambridge residence.
Having grown up during the Great Depression, Isabelle placed high value on financial security and with a strong work ethic, she enjoyed a long career of employment in Quincy. She took her first job in 1956 as a retail clerk at Brown’s Rexall Drug before moving to the old IGA Food Store downtown.
Starting in 1960, Isabelle worked at the new Safeway store, which eventually became the original Akin’s Food Center. She worked at Akin’s until the early 70s, sharing her warm smile and friendly nature, while becoming a favorite employee of many regular customers. This led to her being offered a job at the Forney Fruit & Produce apple packing plant, where she worked until her retirement in the late 80s.
Isabelle carried herself with joy, graciousness and a delightful sense of humor. A devout Christian, she always saw the good in people and enjoyed the fellowship of several Quincy congregations during her life, including the American Baptist Church; the United Church of Christ and finally the Free Methodist Church. No matter the congregation, she was an active participant who generously gave her time. She was kind and caring to those who knew her, willing to listen to everyone’s stories and troubles, providing comfort when needed.
She was an avid sports fan and could be seen (and heard!) cheering on the Quincy Jackrabbits basketball and baseball teams for several decades. In her later years, she turned her sports fanaticism to the Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball team and the Seattle Mariners baseball club.
Her other keen interests were baking and gardening. For many years, especially during the holiday season, she would share her delicious cookies and candies with friends and family. She was especially known for her shortbread-butter cookies, a family recipe passed down from her Scottish mother.
In retirement, she pursued her interest in gardening as a member of the Town and Country Garden Club, serving two separate terms as Club President. Every summer, she spent many enjoyable hours taking care of her flower garden and visiting other gardens. After she was no longer able to continue her gardening duties, Isabelle continued to enjoy the friendship of her fellow Town and Country club members.
Isabelle was preceded in death by her husband James Henson of Neosho, Missouri and her five older siblings in Canada. She is survived by her daughter Wendy Sauber and son-in-law Cheikh Diouf of Quincy; son Randy Henson and son-in-law Scott Britt of Seattle; grandson Brad Sauber (Dawn Lyon) of Seattle and granddaughter Amy Lowery (Brett Lowery) of Las Vegas, Nevada; and great-grandsons Tyler, Kyle and Zach. Isabelle’s sparkling blue eyes, laughter and love will be missed by all.
And, whenever we see a flash of lighting and hear the rumble of distant thunder followed by a soft rain from Heaven. It just might be Isabelle and her older sisters playing an uproarious table game and laughing heartily until tears of joy are flowing.
A private Celebration of Life will be held at a time to be announced.