Services Set June 27 For Betty Jo Anne Henning

Betty Jo Anne Henning


Betty Jo Anne Henning’s spirit departed in eternal peace Saturday morning, June 19, 2021. Her son, daughter and husband were at her side. She was 86 years old and had been a resident of Sitka for 45 years.

A celebration of her life will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 27, at the Halibut Point Recreation Area, main shelter. It will be a potluck.

Betty was born Dec. 2, 1934, in Great Falls, Montana, the daughter of Dorothy Wenzel Berger and Arnold Perrine. As a young girl, she watched her grandfather in his white shirt set linotype for the family owned newspaper, The Cascade Courier. He had an arm band to keep his sleeve from touching the type. One day when he was cleaning out the store room, he found a picture of Chief Joseph. Betty asked, “Grandfather, can I have it?” He said, “You want it, you can have it.” It’s still on Betty and Carl’s living room wall.

Betty loved Montana, its prairies and buttes. From Cascade, Montana, where Betty lived until age 8, she could see Square Butte – a painting of it also is hanging on Betty and Carl’s living room wall.

Betty and her family moved to Oregon on the train, when she was 8. She remembers the porter saying, “Young lady, put your bonnet on before getting off.” Her dad, who was working on the Bonneville Dam, met the train in the dark of night.

The family later moved to Hillsboro, Oregon, where Betty started third grade in a one-room school with no indoor plumbing. Since she was the only one in the third grade, the teacher moved her to the fourth grade. The walk to school was two miles, and she had to pass a big bull with a ring in its nose. She recollected how scary that was. After school she would go with a friend to a horse stable where a famous race horse was kept. They would pet the horses.

She graduated from eighth grade at age 12, with one other classmate. She then went from a school of less than 20 to a freshman class of 200, at Hillsboro High School. Her first day, she focused on finding her classes, spread out over several floors. In her English class, the teacher said, “I hear there is someone 12 years old in here.” Betty said, “I didn’t move or twitch a muscle, and looked straight ahead.” She was put in an algebra class. “My one-room school teacher must have taught me about ‘X’,” she said.

At commencement, the school announced 20 names, including Betty’s. She said, “I didn’t know why, but it was for the honor roll. My parents and uncle were extremely proud. My uncle had also been sponsoring me for vocal lessons.’’

Betty used to sing while her mom played the piano and her uncle Marshal played the fiddle. This led Betty into a music minor at Oregon State College. In 1958 she received the Outstanding Vocalist Award. While in college, Betty was the understudy for the lead in the musical “Oklahoma.” Betty also sang solos for the Christian Science societies in Hillsboro, Corvallis and Gold Beach, Oregon. She was a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Prior to attending Oregon State College, Betty worked as a receptionist at a local doctor’s office and later attended business college in Portland, Oregon. At Oregon State, Betty majored in elementary education. She met Carl, the love of her life, at Oregon State. He helped serve meals in the women’s dorm. Betty often said, “He chose me out of 300 girls.”

Betty and Carl were married September 13, 1959. They graduated together, along with Betty’s brother Bob Perrine, in June 1960. They then moved to Amboy, Washington, where Betty started her first teaching job, at Yacolt Elementary School. Her first day her class size was raised from 22 to 33 students – she had her hands full. Yacolt was a small logging and stump farm community. Carl worked for the U.S. Forest Service and they lived on a Forest Service compound. At school, Betty was able to bring in the performing arts with Christmas and other holiday programs.

The family later moved to Gold Beach, Oregon, where Betty raised her kids and was active in the local Christian Women’s organization.

On April 14, 1976, Betty and Carl flew into Sitka, where Carl had a job interview with the Forest Service. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and Betty said, “This is the most beautiful place! This is where I want to be!” In later years, Carl and Betty would drive daily over the O’Connell bridge and Betty would always comment on how beautiful it was to be in Sitka.

Betty started teaching fifth grade in Sitka at Etolin Street School and then fourth grade at Lincoln Street, and a year at Baranof Elementary School as a music teacher and later at Verstovia School (now Keet Gooshi Heen). Betty would say, “there wasn’t a child that I didn’t love, and my heart was with the ones that didn’t have so much.” Sometimes Betty would be walking through town or in a park and a former student would come up and say, “You were my favorite teacher” and give her a big hug. Betty would say later, “How can your bucket be more full than that?!”

Betty held informal Christian Science church services in her home for more than 30 years. She was thankful for all those blessings received. Her faith was her strength.

Some of her favorite verses are from Psalms 139: Verse 14 – I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. – Verse 17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! – Verse 18  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: When I awake, I am still with thee.

Betty is survived by her husband, Carl Henning of Sitka; son Gar Henning of Eagle River; daughter Gretchen Parrish of Sitka; brother Robert Perrine and sister-in-law Evelyn Perrine of Palm Desert, California; and grandchildren Ava Parrish and Alex Parrish of Sitka, and Gavin Henning, Garren Henning of Eagle River.

Also surviving are her aunt, Jackie Berger of Helena; niece Barbara Bodenhoefer of San Juan Capistrano, California; nephew Ron Perrine of 29 Palms, California; and many other family members.

Her cousins are Robert Berger of Port Angeles, Washington, Rick Berger of Helena, Rosanne (Berger) Flan of Shepherd, Montana, Becky Berger of Helena, and Carol Mary Berger Myxter of Fort Collins, Colorado.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Brave Heart Volunteers.

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At a Glance

(updated 1-12-22)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:55 am Wednesday.

New cases as of Tuesday: 2,414

Total statewide – 167,008

Total (cumulative) deaths – 953

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,311

Current Hospitalizations – 81

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 130 new COVID cases in the past 7 days. Case statistics are as of Sunday.

New cases in Sitka – 7

Cases in last 7 days – 130

Cumulative Sitka cases – 1,467

Deceased (cumulative) – 6

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.





January 2002

Classified ads, Rentals: 3-bdrm. house on the beach. $900; 3-bdrm duplex, washer/dryer $945; Great downtown house, 2 bdrms., 2 baths, furnished,
W/D, hardwood floors $850; 2-bdrm. roomy apartment $945..


January 1972

The City and Borough Assembly Tuesday approved an ordinance establishing a transportation committee to advise the assembly and promote transportation services for the municipality. Members are Cecil McClain, Ray Mabey, Clarence Kramer,
Dick Cushing and Burt Hansen.