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Dale M. Hennek
October 24, 1933 ~ November 15, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old
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Dale Martin Hennek, age 90, passed away peacefully, Surrounded by his loving family on November 15, 2023. Born on October 24, 1933, in Hasty, Minnesota, Dale was the son of Roxie Dalman and Martin Sonsteby. He dedicated his life to his family, leaving a legacy of love and kindness.
While in high school, Dale played hocKey for the North Mankato Fighting Vikings, with good friend and mentor, Augie Schueneman. Dale graduated from Mankato High School in 1952, despite his best efforts, preferring instead to hunt each fall, which he facilitated by writing his own Please Excuse Dale from Class for the Next Two Weeks notes, exquisitely forging his mother Roxie’s signature.
After high school, Dale Enlisted and served in the U.S. Army as a radar operator stationed in Thule, Greenland. Dale was Honorably Discharged and, upon leaving the military, met Veronica Becker, who became his wife. Together they settled and built a home in rural North Mankato, where they raised a family of seven children. Dale then went on to work for 30-plus-years at Northern States Power Company in Mankato and was able to enjoy an early retirement to pursue his many interests.
A person of diverse interests, Dale found joy in building and racing wood strip canoes with his longtime friend Joe Michel. At the height of Dale and Joe's prolific canoe racing career, they achieved a third-place finish in an epic 1974 national championship race. Dale loved being in a canoe and on the Minnesota River. He paddled the Judson to Sibley Park portion of the Minnesota River countless times, enjoying Each turn. He passed his love for canoeing on by sharing it with his wife Veronica, kids and friends, spending time each summer traversing Minnesota and competing in as many small-town canoe races as his lime-green wood-paneled 1967 Ford Countrysquire station wagon could handle.
Dale was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, Trapping, and gathering ginseng. Whether it was raising mink, bird watching, playing cards, or rearing his children, he always approached life with enthusiasm, curiosity, and humor. Dale enjoyed practical jokes and had a wicked sense of humor.
Dale liked to drive. Upon Veronica’s death, Dale packed up his 10-year-old son Chris and drovE to Alaska in a 1968 Ford Pick-up, taking the long way there, meandering throughout Canada on the way. Dale drove to the Artic Circle in his 1965 Ford Mustang, just because he felt like it. Not one to be burdened by planning, he slept in the backseat of the Mustang. He did this twice, apparently seeing the Arctic Circle once was not enough. He also traveled to Australia on a whim, packing only his passport and credit card, leaving behind unnecessary items, like extra clothes. Dale took countless other driving trips, always up for a trip whose destination was not always certain. He liked it that way.
Later in life, Dale liked to spend time at the cabin on Spider Lake in Nevis, MN. While there, he enjoyed Rehabbing the cabins, paddling, and birdwatching with Judy and playing cards on the deck with family and friends there.
He leaves behind a family who will forever cherish the 90 years of laughter, love, and wisdom he shared. He is survived by his children: Terry Becker (Robbie Faust), Sheri Schultz (Doug), Julie Glynn (Jon, deceased), Mike Hennek (Ronda), John Hennek (Julie), Steve Hennek (Shawna), Chris Hennek (Lindsay), 24 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and his favorite sister Sharon Jerabek (Mike) of Lakeville, Minnesota, Sister-in-law Sue Hennek of Onamia and a close friend and traveling companion Judy Hidde of Elk River.
Dale was preceded in death by his wife Veronica in 1984 and his brother Tom of Onamia in 2020.
A memorial service to celebrate Dale Martin Hennek's life will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28th, 2023 at Woodland Hills Chapel in Mankato (1605 Woodland Ave, Mankato, MN 56001)
Visitation will be from 11 am to 1 pm at Woodland Hills Chapel, military honors will be immediately following services with interment in Woodland Hills Memorial Park. Arrangements by Woodland Hills Funeral Home of Mankato.www.woodlandhillsfh.com
May his soul rest in peace and may the memories of his remarkable life bring comfort to all who knew and loved him.