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In Memory of Marilyn Henderson


Monday, June 6 from 5 to 8pm at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson

Funeral Services

Tuesday, June 7, at 11 o’clock in the morning at Bethel Lutheran Church – downtown Hudson

Marilyn K. Henderson, age 89, of Hudson, died on June 2, 2011 at her home, surrounded by her family.  Marilyn was born on October 4, 1921 to Andrew and Bertha (Ahrens) Kvalheim in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She grew up in Northeast Minneapolis where she attended Pillsbury Grade School and graduated from Edison High School with the class of 1940.  She went on to graduate from the Minneapolis Business College with an Associates Degree.  It was after graduation and during WWII she worked in a war office in the Landmark Center in St. Paul.  After the war Marilyn agreed to set up the office for her friends, the Manuals, at the Northfield Airport in exchange for flying lessons.  She would go on to become a member of the “99’s”, an organization of women pilots.  Around 1950, Marilyn began working at Brown & Bigelow as the executive secretary to Robert Henderson Sr.  It was while there that she met and fell in love his son, Drexel.  The two were married on March 14, 1956 at St John’s Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.  The marriage would be blessed with two children, Kim and Drexel “Chip”.  Marilyn and her family settled in Hudson where she became active in the community and in her church.  Through her married life, Marilyn supported Drexel in his business ventures, first with Sales Marketing Inc. and then with Maude Borup Candies.  In 1991, Drexel passed away.  Marilyn would continue to live in Hudson as a community and church leader.

Marilyn was an adventurous and active woman her whole life.  At a younger age she enjoyed many activities, including horseback riding with a group at St. John’s Lutheran Church, and as a female pilot and member of the 99’s she was a part of many fly-ins to Lake Ida in Alexandria, Minnesota.  She also did flights and air rallies as far as Alaska and the Carolinas.  As a member of Bethel Lutheran Church she taught Sunday School, co-founded the Scandinavian Food Festival, and was active in her circle and on various building and other committees.  With the Hudson Community she was also a part of many groups, organizations and events including, the Phipps Theater, PEO and Hudson Women’s Club.  She also welcomed a foreign exchange daughter, Antonia Truelle, into her home for a year.  Her favorite activities, however, where those involving and including her family.  With them, she enjoyed entertaining, spending time on the river and in Hawaii as well as Lake Ida.  In recent years, she traveled all over the world with close friends.  She also continued to enjoy plays, concerts, and family functions.

Marilyn is survived by her; children, Kim (Philip) Tillmann of St. Anthony Village, MN and Drexel Hart Henderson II “Chip” of Hudson, grandchildren, Tony and Gretchen Tillmann of St. Anthony Village, MN, brother, Stewart (Joyce) Kvalheim of Blaine, MN and God-daughter Patricia (Robert) Peterson of Alexandria, MN.

Marilyn is preceded in death by her parents, Andrew and Bertha Kvalheim, husband, Drexel Henderson, and beloved cousin, Eunice.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Marilyn on Tuesday, June 7, at 11 o’clock in the morning at Bethel Lutheran Church – downtown Hudson.  Burial will follow at the Willow River Cemetery.  A visitation will be held for one hour prior to services at the church as well as on Monday, June 6 from 5 to 8pm at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson. The family asks that memorials be donated in Marilyn’s name to the Phipps Theater, Loaves and Fishes and the Bethel Lutheran Church Building Fund. Services are in the care of the O’Connell Funeral Home and Countryside Crematory – Hudson.

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