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Stephen Kirkby Henkel


Stephen Kirkby Henkel Obituary
Stephen Kirkby Henkel

October 20, 1934 ~ November 25, 2012

Steve was all about family. Born to Ann and Oliver Henkel, Steve was the eldest of four and grew up in Mansfield Ohio in a big fun-loving family with siblings Pudge, Rick and Karla. One day, at age 14, while competing in Y-Flyer sailing races together on the lakes of Ohio he met Denny, who would become the love of his life and his wife. After a high school football injury, Steve spent his final two years of high school at The Taft School in Connecticut making friends for life. He then attended Washington and Lee where he joined Phi Delta Theta. After his sophomore year, in 1955, Denny and Steve were married in San Diego, CA. They sailed off to Catalina Island for their honeymoon. They settled in Denver where Steve finished his degree at the University of Denver at night while working full time. Between work and LOTS of skiing, Steve and Denny managed to start their own big family in Denver with three daughters, Heidi, Page and Muffie born between 1958 and 1960.

Steve's work eventually took Denny and the girls to the great Northwest. They settled on Mercer Island and Steve Jr. arrived in 1963 to make the Henkel family complete. The Northwest was the perfect home for Steve and his family as they spent every weekend skiing, sailing, backpacking, biking and exploring their new home. Summers were spent on one sailboat or another from the Duck, Pyxis, Shearwater to the beloved Noatak, named after the Alaska River that Denny and Steve kayaked. They kayaked all over from the Broken Islands to the islands off Vietnam. Denny and Steve's adventures took them trekking in Nepal, Machu Pichhu, Patagonia and Bhutan and biking thru France, New Zealand, Italy and elsewhere. Because fish live in beautiful places, Steve and Denny took up fly-fishing and spent summers in Montana, Idaho and Washington, adding an inflatable kayak to navigate those beautiful rivers.

Steve brought his love of nature to the Mercer Island community, serving on the Mercer Island Park Board and helping build the Deane's Children's Park. He was pleased that the dragon that he helped create is still entertaining the Island's children. In later years, as a member of the Mercer Island Craft Guild, Steve would don his Carhartts and go to work on his many woodworking projects. Steve was also a member of the Rotary Club of Seattle and an active member of YPO/WPO where he made many great friends.

When asked what he did for a living, Steve said "I have a very short attention span and have changed jobs every few years." Yet Steve worked hard and was successful in creating this wonderful life for his family. He served as President of Simlog Instruments and the Simpak Corporation. He ended his career as President and co-owner with Denny of the Campbell Company.

But Steve was REALLY all about family. Beginning with Denny-his magnificent love, their four children and their families and Steve's siblings and their families: Heidi and her husband Scott Seaborn, and her children Jack, Hallie and Nicky; Page and her husband Steve Chance and their children Kelsey and Ryder; Muffie and her husband Bob Cohen and her children Hank, Ellis and Macken and Steve Jr. and his wife Laura and their children Ben and Wil; Steve's brother Pudge, his wife Sally and their children Peter (Eleni), Ben and David (Lisa); his brother Rick and his wife Nancy and their children Chris (Christina) and Jeffrey (Susie) and his sister Karla and her husband Bruce Mance and their children Kelly (Nicki), Kurt (Lisa) and Tyler (Trisha).

The family is thankful for Dr. Tanya Wahl and the loving staff at Swedish Cancer Institute-Issaquah for caring for Steve who gracefully dealt with Multiple Myeloma.

Steve lived his life to the fullest and was known for his generosity of spirit. In memory of him, dedicate a day of skiing, sailing, fishing, a walk or just do a random act of kindness. A celebration of Steve's life will take place some day in the New Year.
Published in The Seattle Times from Dec. 1 to Dec. 2, 2012
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