Arlene Esther (Abenroth) Henke

Arlene Esther (Abenroth) Henke

Arlene Esther (Abenroth) Henke, 62, passed away Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, from a brief fight with neuroendocrine cancer at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls.

A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, at the Asper Funeral Home in Shelby. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 in the Shelby High School auditorium, with a luncheon to follow.

Arlene was born May 18, 1960, in Fallbrook, Calif., to Albert and Nita (Cairnes) Abenroth. In 1964 her family settled in Holly, Ore., and bought a 54-acre farm. This was where Arlene spent her “growing up years.”

Her grandmother taught her to play the piano at an early age. She graduated from Sweet Home High School in 1978 just after her 18th birthday. She went on to attend Merritt-Davis Business School in Salem, Ore., and received a certification for secretarial work. She then got a job working for Hewlett-Packard as a telephone operator and secretarial assistant and worked there for about a year. After that she worked briefly for the Corrections Division in Pendleton, Ore., before going home to the farm for a period of time.

Arlene’s parents loved the truth of God, and they lived this love in their daily lives. They faithfully attended the Sunday morning meetings and Wednesday night meetings. This love of truth that was seen in her parents had a profound influence on her life. When Arlene was 14 years old, she made the choice to serve God. She stayed faithful to this choice her entire life.

In January of 1983 Arlene moved to Seattle, where her sister, Lois, was living. She got a job with Burlington Resources and worked her way up to the executive assistant of the CEO of the company. She remained at that job for several years before being given a choice to move to Texas or take a severance package; she chose the severance and then attended Bellevue Community College and worked on her accounting degree, which she later finished from her home in Montana.

In May of 1994 Arlene met a farmer named Miles Henke, and she moved to Shelby and started working for Torgerson’s in Ethridge. Miles and Arlene were finally married on Nov. 16, 1996. They spent 26 married years together. Miles and Arlene both wished they had met each other sooner. Their first son, Luke, was born Oct. 19, 1997, followed by their second son, Jonathan, on Feb. 16, 2000.

Arlene loved trips to Glacier National Park and the coast of Oregon. She worked for many years and was instrumental in getting the Ethridge County Water District up and going. She was also Miles’ right hand on the farm, and they worked together day in and day out. She loved numbers and kept busy in her office.

Arlene will be fondly remembered by her sons for their Junior Explorer trips, walks on the trail, and pulling the wagon for the boys when they got tired or picked up too many rocks. She loved her special times with her boys, and they will treasure those memories forever.

She loved conversations on the phone with her sister and friends and could talk and laugh for hours. We will always remember her kindness, her sense of humor and her whole heartedness.

Arlene was preceded in death by her mother, Nita Abenroth, in January of 1991; her father, Albert Abenroth, in February of 2013; and her father-in-law, Jules Henke, in July of 2019.

Arlene is survived by her husband, Miles; their children, Luke (Martha) Henke of Glendive, and Jonathan Henke and special friend Kasondra Grillo of Bozeman; sister Lois Pierce of Oregon; mother-in-law Leona Henke of Shelby; brothers-in-law Kevin (Charlene) Henke of Dupuyer, Curt (Linda) Henke of Shelby and Tom Henke of Shelby; sisters-in-law Yvonne (Bob) Neary of Oregon and Janette Racki of Cut Bank; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends.