Gayle Hillenbrand Henion

Gayle Hillenbrand Henion, 72, passed peacefully on Sunday, July 21, 2013, after a courageous battle with terminal liver disease.
She was the loving wife of James T. Henion of Williamsburg, her soul mate; adoring mother of Scott M. Ewens of Tucson, Ariz., the apple of her eye; caring stepmother of Julie H. Boyer of Burleson, Texas, and Paul T. Henion of Killeen, Texas, her wonderful grownup kids; doting grandmother of Kimberly and Alex Henion and Brooke and Alayna Boyer, she was their GiGi (Grandma Gayle).
Jim, Scott, Julie and Paul were all by her side.
Gayle was born March 8, 1941, in Dayton, Ohio, to Louis and Naomi Hillenbrand. She graduated from Julienne High School in 1959 and went on to attend Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., where she completed her bachelor's degree in education in 1963. Her graduate studies were done at California Polytechnic Institute in Pomona, Calif., during the early 1970s while she worked and raised a family.
Throughout her life, Gayle had been an English language, adult education and calligraphy teacher, college representative on military installations, director of tutorial services for community colleges, business owner of Gayle's Ink Well (hand lettering, calligraphy, artwork), coordinator of several Virginia Chamber of Commerce events, leadership conferences and fundraisers, charter member and president of numerous professional organizations, including the Peninsula Women's Network, the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting, the Calligraphers Guild of the Peninsula and the Washington Calligraphers Guild, and, of course, an accomplished calligrapher and artist.
With a desire to give back, Gayle volunteered for a variety of local programs to include Blooms That Brighten and the Colonial Williamsburg Historical Research Department.
She always had a passion for literature, art, gardening and nature conservancy that led to her active membership in book clubs, Starving Artists group, garden clubs and national park associations.
Through involvement with her church, Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists, Gayle's dynamic ambition, enthusiastic dedication and vibrant personality were instrumental in nurturing a thriving congregation.
Her zest for life took Gayle across the globe. She traveled extensively throughout the world for business, pleasure, and even to stay in touch with her "3404" college roommates from Marquette.
Gayle was an amazingly inspirational woman who was deeply loved and will be greatly missed by many.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, August 31, at 4 p.m. at the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist Campus, 3051 Ironbound Road.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to her church through the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist Endowment Fund, 3051 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.
Online condolences may be offered at

Funeral Home

Nelsen Funeral Home - Williamsburg
3785 Strawberry Plains Rd. Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 565-1141

Published in Virginia Gazette from Aug. 1 to Aug. 30, 2013