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Mary J. Henry

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Mary J. Henry Obituary
Mary J. (Bakketun) Henry
March 25, 1940 ~ June 14, 2014
Mary Jane Henry died June 14, 2014 in Boise at the age of 74.
Mary was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota on March 25, 1940 to Morris T. Bakketun and Inez B. (Gordon) Bakketun of Northwood, Iowa. She attended Northwood High School where she participated in almost every activity available. She became a certified Water Safety Instructor and spent many summers as a lifeguard and swimming teacher at the Northwood pool.
Upon graduation she attended the University of Iowa and worked at the University Medical School, where she was involved in the administration of research grants and contracts until 1972. A speech on financial management in Washington D.C precipitated a call from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and an interview trip to Boulder, CO, Boise, ID, Great Falls, MT, and Laramie, WY. She fell head over heels in love with the West and accepted a position as Fiscal Officer/Controller. This position took her to many cities and towns in the West and all over the country.
While in Iowa City she married Thomas C. Henry and they soon had two children, Kevin Thomas and Shellie Anne. Unfortunately the marriage did not last and she headed West in her brand new Mercury, with her sister-in-law, Mary A., and her two kids. All went well until they hit the desert and she cried all the way into Boise... until they saw the trees.
After federal funding was withdrawn from WICHE, she went to work for Morrison Knudsen, where she served as Business Manager on the new Park Center development and watched it grow from a gravel pit to an attractive business location. Due to high interest rates, she became unemployed but did have an adventure during this time. She traveled to 9200 feet in the primitive area, in October and November, where she served as a cook in a gold mine. Many fond memories prevail.
Mary then went to work for the State of Idaho in the H&W Division of Management Services, Bureau of Financial Management as a Senior Accountant. She worked there for 17 years prior to her retirement in 1998.
Throughout the years, golf and her family were her first loves for outside activities. She participated in many tournaments throughout the state and area with her favorite partner Irene. Eventually arthritis and spinal problems prevailed and she discovered duplicate bridge. She spent the next four years traveling to bridge tournaments all over the West to get her Life Master rank. When it became difficult to sit for long periods, she discovered internet duplicate bridge. You could find her most days playing relatively short ACBL tournaments with people from all over the country, and the world for that matter.
Mary was preceded in death by her grandparents, her mother and father, an infant brother Sherman, an infant nephew Steven, and her sister Shirley A. Swenson. Her son Kevin was killed at the age of 36 in an auto-pedestrian accident. She is survived by her brother-in-law Lee; her nephews Scott and David and her niece Laurie, their spouses and their children; her daughter Shellie Strolberg and husband Eric Strolberg, and her beloved granddaughter Carlie Grace Strolberg.
She is grateful to her extended families, the Taylors and the Nafus clan. Her biggest regret is that she lost touch with so many of the wonderful people, friends and family she came in contact with during her life.
As she received many hours of joy from her beloved pets of 18 years, Tara and Tyko, she asks that donations be made to the Senior Adoption Program of the Idaho Human Society. Graveside services will be conducted at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at Dry Creek Cemetery.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Mary's memorial webpage at

Published in Idaho Statesman on June 24, 2014
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