July 30, 1938 – March 20, 2019
After 45 years, North Island has lost one of its most friendly, loving, smiling people, Ann Henschel.
At 12:30 pm on March 20th, 2019, Kathryn Ann Henschel of Port McNeill, died at Eagle Ridge Manor Care Home of Alzheimer’s at the age of 80.
Ann was born to Steve and Leda Kondratuk on July 30th, 1938 on a farm near Plumas, Manitoba. The oldest of 4, she had two brothers, Bruce and Leon and one sister, Juanita. The family moved to Gladstone and then to Otter Falls in Whiteshell Provincial Park where the entire family started a Tourist Resort. Everyone worked!
Because Otter Falls was quite remote, Ann attended a variety of schools but was interested in everything, including a course in repairing outboard motors and, later, Junior Accountancy, which got her a job in the town office of Atikokan, Ontario. Because she was such a valuable member, she returned to work at Otter Falls that summer. A sad summer for the family because Ann’s brother, sixteen year old Leon, drowned in a boating accident.
Ann very much resembled her father, Steve, who gave all the kids a shock of very thick, wavy hair and a huge sense of humor. Through all her years she always had a joke and a smile as well as an incredible sense of right and wrong. There were no “in be tweens”. Loving the water, she was an avid swimmer and canoeist.
In 1958 she married the boy next door, Gordon Henschel, whose father, Fred, had the tourist resort a mile away. They had known each other since Ann was 12. Gordon worked for Manitoba Hydro and had leased a lot for a cabin next to his dad’s resort. Ann and Gordon began building their cabin immediately but had reasonably rented a house in the Hydro town site of Seven Sisters Falls where they had their first three children, Kathryn Kim in 1959, Martin Miles in 1960 and Lorece Lynn in 1962.
Gordon decided that he would like to begin another kind of work, so they chose teaching as a goal. Neither of them had their Grade 12 which meant study, study and study. Ann was amazing, studying with three children at home and her husband on shiftwork. He had it easy, studying at work!
In 1964, they moved to their cabin in order to finish it to sell it for University money. Two years later they adopted a 2 1/2 year old boy, Wallace Wayne just before they both started University where they attended 3 full years, resulting in Master’s degrees in Education for both of them.
In 1970 they moved to teaching jobs in Cranberry Portage, 500 miles from Winnipeg. Remaining there until 1974 when they moved to Port McNeill, BC. Ann was a remedial teacher for the whole school district and Gordon a counsellor at NISS. In 1979 Gordon stopped teaching and became a full time freelance artist. Ann joined him to begin promotion as well as starting a gallery. They traveled everywhere, setting up shows and teaching workshops. Ann’s Alzheimer’s began in 2011 and was diagnosed in 2012.
Gordon was the caregiver until May of 2016 when she became a resident at Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Hardy where he was able to visit her often. She passed away on Wednesday, March 20th and is survived by Gordon and their four children, thirteen grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, a sister, Juanita, a brother, Bruce and an aunt Mary as well as cousins too numerous to mention. Living in Port McNeill for 45 years she has many hundreds of friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 pm on May 4th at the Port McNeill Community Hall.