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James Clifford Henriksen

April 22, 1925 November 23, 2017
James Clifford Henriksen
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Obituary for James Clifford Henriksen

Long-time Alaska resident, James (Jim) Clifford Henriksen, 92, passed away on Thursday, November 23, 2017 at Kamalani Assisted Living Home in Anchorage.

Jim was born April 22, 1925 in Lexington, Oregon to Lucille and Oral Henriksen. He was raised along with his two sisters on their family’s dairy farm near Pendleton, Oregon; later moving to Orcas Island where he graduated from high school. Jim enlisted in the military at the age of 18 and served honorably as a Second Lieutenant Airman in the Air Corps branch of the US Army from November 1944 to October 1945. One of the great joys of his life was flying and while in the military he trained in several kinds of military planes including PT-22, PT-17, BT-13, AT-6, B-17, and B24. After completing his active military service, he served in the reserves and attended the University of Washington where he graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Forestry Engineering. He liked to say that he graduated with the lowest GPA recorded for a forestry engineering student at that time.

Jim’s first visit to Alaska took place in 1948 when he spent the summer at Barter Island working with the United States Coast and Geodesic Survey performing off shore coastal depth survey as part of a two man team assigned to a small boat. He was locally famous for falling into the Arctic Ocean, from the bow of the boat after the operator bumped into a small chunk of sea ice.

Jim met Erma, his wife of 51 years, in Prineville, Oregon in 1953 and they were married in October 1954. After living in small logging communities for the first year of their marriage, they moved to Forest Grove, Oregon where they started a family and both attended Pacific University to complete their degrees in education. In 1961, they moved with their three children to Alaska where they taught school in small communities including Emmonak, Shageluk, Koliganek, Adak, Metlakatla, and Naknek. They moved to Sequim, Washington after retiring from teaching and spent much of their early retirement years traveling. Jim especially enjoyed visiting Australia where he acquired a didgerio which to the dismay of Erma he would periodically attempt to play. Jim and Erma returned to Alaska in 1994 to be closer to their children and grandchildren and remained in Anchorage through the remainder of their days.

Jim was preceded in death by his sisters, Anne and Bette, his beloved wife Erma, and his eldest grandson, Leif. He is survived by his children, Jane Baird, Janet Jacob, and Bill Henriksen, grandchildren Aaron, Sarah, Nathan, Shoshannah, Saul, and Hannah and his two great-grandchildren, Torin and Dahlia.

Services for Jim are planned for summer 2018 at which time his ashes will be laid to rest along-side Erma’s at the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Jim’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association of Alaska

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