LaVern L. Henry, formerly of Grangeville, passed away on Tuesday April 9, 2013 at Royal Plaza Care Center in Lewiston. LaVern was born May 5, 1929 in Glendive, Montana to George and LeNora Woods. The family lived on a farm near the small town of Wibaux, MT which is located 8 miles west of the North Dakota border. LaVern’s early childhood memories were playing with her sisters and helping her dad around the farm.
Due to the economic events of the “Midwest Dust Bowl” when LaVern was 9 years old the family moved to McMinnville, Oregon where her mother had some family members living at the time and her father was able to find employment at a local sawmill. While growing up and going to school in McMinnville, LaVern participated in various school activities and enjoyed helping her Uncle Roy who lived next door and had a good sized orchard that he maintained. She completed her schooling there and graduated from McMinnville High School in 1947.
Following high school graduation, LaVern obtained employment as a telephone operator while still living with her parents. While attending a local dance in the fall of 1947, she met and got acquainted with Harriman Henry who was attending Linfield College there in McMinnville. LaVern and Harriman were married on Christmas Eve 1948 and continued to live in McMinnville until the spring of 1950 when Harriman graduated from College. The couple moved to Lewiston where Harriman went through an eight month management training program with First National Bank. During this time LaVern worked as a clerk at the Montgomery Ward store in Lewiston.
In spring of 1951 the couple moved to Grangeville, which was Harriman’s home town, where he started his 38 year banking with what later became First Security Bank. With the arrival of their first child, Mike, in June 1951 LaVern became a full time mother and house wife. In November 1953 LaVern gave birth to her first daughter, Claudia, followed in May 1957 with the birth of second daughter, Gayle. LaVern devoted all her efforts to seeing that her children were raised properly and in helping her husband in anyway that she could. Although she was 500 miles away from her parents and sisters, she stayed in contact with them by phone and/or letter. There were several trips taken over the years back to McMinnville so that her kids could become acquainted with their “Oregon Grand Parents, Aunts, and Cousins”.
With two of her children (Mike & Claudia) choosing to get married and live in Grangeville, LaVern continued on with her loving and nurturing ways being Grandma and taking care of Terry, Jeremy, Amy, & Abby on a regular basis. Gayle settled in the Boise area, but the trips to Grangeville to be with Grandma Henry were things that her children, Corey and Jennifer, looked forward to and loved every minute they spent with her.
When Harriman chose to retire from the bank in 1989, Lavern’s’ 38 year career of ironing dress shirts and slacks for her banker husband came to an end also. The two of them took a few short trips, but mostly enjoyed being around each other working on their rural home site and helping their children and grandchildren.
When Harriman passed away in June 2001, LaVern had to learn how to be on her own without her partner of 53 years. After a couple of years the decision was made to sell the rural residence to one of her grandsons so that he could continue on with the traditions that he and his cousins had enjoyed growing up and being at Grandmas’. LaVern moved into an apartment in Grangeville and participated in group activities with all of the friends she had made over the years at the Grangeville Nazarene Church. As it became more difficult for her to take care of herself, she and the family decided in October 2009 to move into the Royal Plaza in Lewiston where she has been very well taken care of by the staff of that facility.
LaVern was preceded in death by her parents, George and Lenora Woods; her father and mother-in-law, Weston and Ester Henry; her sisters, Marjorie and Helen; her husband Harriman; and her daughter Gayle (Henry) Webb.
LaVern is survived by sister Wynona of Salem, OR; sister and brother-in-law Shirley and Homer Hazelbaker of Grangeville; son and daughter-in-law Mike and Helen Henry of Clarkston; daughter and son-in-law Claudia and Gailen Roberts of Grangeville; son-in-law Don Webb of Boise; 3 grandsons–Terry Roberts of Lewiston, Jeremy (Mandy) Roberts of Grangeville, and Corey (Becky) Webb of Boise; 3 granddaughters—Amy (Joel) Riendeau of Bozeman, Abby (Randy) Nealis of Boise, and Jennifer (Derrick) Eylar of Spokane; 11 great grandchildren– Maddison & Meggan Roberts of Lewiston, Tristan & Makayla Roberts of Grangeville, Henry & Owen Riendeau of Bozeman, Savannah & Andrew Webb of Boise, Madelyn Nealis of Boise, and Conner & Brielle Eylar of Spokane; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday April 13 at 2:00 at the Grangeville Nazarene Church with burial to follow at Prairie View Cemetery, Grangeville under the direction of Blackmer Funeral Home. The family requests memorial donations be made to the Grangeville Church of the Nazarene.