Henry L. "Hank" Brahlit (1921 - 2018)

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Henry, a native New Englander, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father Ernest, a cabinet maker by trade, had emigrated to the U.S. from Latvia with his wife Pauline. He moved his family from Boston to Carlisle, Massachusetts, due to Henry's ill health, when Henry was two years old.

It was on the farm that his father taught him how to work with wood, along with other skills that would later enhance his career. Hank went to the University of Massachusetts to study to be a farm manager. His academic career was interrupted by WWII. After he returned from the Air Force, he went on to get his degree and tried his hand at farming. He married August (Bunny) Zakis, a Latvian displaced person, soon after graduation.

A short time later, he was employed by Sikorsky Aircraft. Here he put to work some of the skills he learned in the service as a sheet metal worker. He soon moved into the area of industrial training at Sikorsky. Here he taught many technical subjects and hand skills for 14 years. In the 70's he shifted his field to Quality Control at Sikorsky, retiring from there in 1983.

It was during his last year at Sikorsky that he enrolled in an evening class on bird carving at the local high school. This began his retirement hobby. In the years that followed, Hank produced numerous works of art in bird form, which he sold - but mostly gave away. The quality of his work made them priceless treasures. One of his birds now rests in the home of former Washington Governor Gardner and his wife Jean.

After retirement, he and Bunny moved to Sequim. He continued to hone his carving skills, but needed more than that in life.

In the early 80's, he visited the high school to offer help to the students of Jack Headrick's wood shop classes. Thus began his second career. Hank, along with Jack, retired 15 years later. During that time, Jack and his family adopted Hank and Bunny as their own.

Hank is preceded in death by his wife Augusta, father and mother Ernest and Pauline, sister Wally Mezitt, and nephew Roger Mezitt. He is survived by his nephew Wayne Mezzitt and his wife Beth, his niece Merylyn (widow of Roger), and his adopted family "The Headricks": Jack and Judy, Michelle, Scott and Stephanie, and their children Kiera and Emmett.

Hank enjoyed his life in Sequim, with all its outdoor activities; fishing on the lakes and crabbing in the Dungeness Bay were always on his "To Do" list. His annual trips to Alaska once produced a 150 pound halibut that he was very proud of.

We would like to thank the staff at Sherwood Assisted Living for the loving care they gave Hank in his final years.

At his request, there will be no services. Hank and Bunny will find their new home "together" at Ocean View Cemetery in Port Angeles. Rest in Peace, friends!
Published in The Peninsula Daily News from June 10 to June 11, 2018
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