Retired woodworker embraced rural life
February 3, 2022
Jack Henriksen, a Navy veteran and retired wood products worker who moved to Haines in 2002, died Feb. 16, 2021 at the Soboleff-McRae Veterans' Village. He was 79.
Henriksen worked 33 years with machinists at the Acrowood plant in Everett, Wash. He also enjoyed carving and working with wood, building furniture, carving figures and sometimes incorporating metal objects into his creations.
Wife Karen Henriksen said some of her husband's work was featured in Chip Chat woodworking magazine. Proud of his Scandinavian heritage, he carved a Viking drinking horn from a chunk of alder.
The Henriksens met while riding on a bus in 1995 that connected Lake Stevens, Wash., where she lived, to his home in nearby Granite Falls. During a trip to Alaska in 1996, they made Haines their destination after asking a person outside a bar in Juneau where they could go where the weather was dry.
"Jack lived in a rainy place all his life and wanted a place out of the rain," Karen said.
In 2002, they married and loaded up a Ford Ranger pickup with hand tools to move to the Chilkat Valley, buying adjoining lots at 34 Mile Haines Highway where they built a house and lived for 12 years before moving into town.
They kept a garden and greenhouse and made cider and beef jerky. Karen said they shared a "perfect life" out the road, gardening, fishing, clearing land, and feeding the birds, squirrels and weasels.
Highway neighbor Anne Schulze said she and her family looked at Henriksen as a father figure. "He had fantastic stories. I really enjoyed his stories and going there to visit. He loved joking around. We pretty much considered them family."
Schulze said Henriksen kept an impressive garden, raised tomatoes in a greenhouse and shared what he grew with others.
"(The Henriksons) definitely embraced Alaska. They had a rough life out the road but they did a good job at it," she said.
Wife Karen said Henriksen didn't always say a lot but he could make her laugh with a single word and showed his love in small ways like making her double-ended needles so she could knit him socks.
Jack Martin Henriksen was born Aug. 24, 1941 in Sultan, Wash. to Lillian M. Snyder and Jack Henriksen. He graduated from Bothell High School in 1960. He was previously married to Priscilla Setting, the mother of his three sons.
Henriksen is survived by wife Karen Henriksen of Haines; sons Martin and Erik, both of Bothell, Wash.; son Craig of Mount Vernon, Wash. and by a sister, Merry Pihlman of Entiat, Wash. He also is survived by seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Jack Henriksen died of a stroke. He was buried at Jones Point Cemetery.