Mildred Marietta Hendricson (Dennis), died peacefully on Dec. 4, 2019 at her home on Whidbey Island, Wash., with family holding her close. Mildred lived, by her own account, a happy, productive, interesting and healthy life. She was a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher and friend. Her dignity, patience, kindness, insight, dry humor and sly grin will be greatly missed.
Born in Walla Walla, Wash., to Maude Odessa Dennis (Goodman) and Archie Howard Dennis, Mildred graduated from Touchet High School and Washington State University — the first in her family to earn a college degree. After graduation from college, she began a high school teaching career. When the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was created in 1942, Mildred enlisted and served during WWII in Connecticut and Texas.
After discharge from the service, she returned to Walla Walla, and in 1946 married Harold (Hank) Maris Hendricson, also from Walla Walla and a WWII combat veteran. Mildred and Harold’s children, William (Bill) and Shirley were born in Walla Walla in 1948 and 1950.
At the start of the Korean War, Hank resumed his military career, which took Mildred and her family to more than 10 bases in the U.S. and Europe over 25 years. Mildred took full advantage of living in Europe, traveling extensively with her children and husband as often as possible. Mildred would write “please excuse” notes to her children’s teachers so they could accompany her on trips. Hank’s last posting was at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; at this time Mildred returned to teaching high school in Fairfax, Va., working with special needs students until Hank retired in 1972. Mildred and Hank then took off in their motorhome heading back to Washington state where, in 1973, they found a home on lovely Whidbey Island. Hank fished and Mildred gardened, creating two acres of flowers, vegetables, fruit and walnut trees, raspberries and loganberries. The kids and grandkids came to visit and life was good. After Hank died in 1992, Mildred spent part of each year in San Antonio, Texas to be close to her son and his family. In 1996, Mildred’s daughter Shirley arrived on Whidbey Island and moved in with her mother, sharing a home along with their dogs Augustus, Whidbey, Murphy and Nadee. Years of fun, practical and impractical projects, and much traveling ensued.
Mildred was a woman of many talents and interests. At age 72, she joined the English as a Second Language (ESL) Service for a San Antonio, Texas Adult Education program, coordinating ESL tutoring for hundreds of clients and was recognized as a volunteer of the year. She was an accomplished quilter, creating dozens of exquisite quilts, stitched by hand as her grandmothers taught her. Mildred and family enjoyed trips together into her 80s and 90s to Hawaii, Alaska, Germany and Holland, Italy, Cozumel, Catalina Island, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and South Padre Island.
Mildred was preceded in death by parents, Maude and Archie Dennis, brother Lloyd Neal Dennis, husband Harold, son-in-law David Putnam Osborne and great-granddaughter Sloan Dennis Hendricson.
She is survived by son William Dennis Hendricson and daughter-in-law Susan Lienau Hendricson, daughter Shirley Hendricson, grandson Adam William Hendricson and wife Courtney Walker Hendricson, grandson Aaron Charles Hendricson and wife Stara Roemer Hendricson, great-granddaughters Finley Lienau Hendricson and Merritt Walker Hendricson, and several nephews and nieces.
The family is grateful to Nikki and Colleen who helped care for Mildred with compassion, understanding, professionalism and a gentle sense of humor. As per Mildred’s request, no memorial is planned. Mildred was, for the last 25 years, a liberal Democrat and environmentalist and her hope is that in her memory, you will actively support either or both of these causes — or contribute to your local food bank.
Mildred will be buried with Hank at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. Arrangements by the Whidbey Memorial Funeral and Cremation Service, 746 N.E. Midway Blvd., Oak Harbor, WA. 98277, 360-675-5777.