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ROBERT "BOB" DEAN HENIFIN
12-12-30 ~ 2-20-13
On Tuesday, 2-20-2013, Robert Dean Henifin, 82, of Vancouver, WA. passed away at Quail Hollow Memory Care Community in Richland, Washington. He was born by midwives to Elwin Martin and Eunice (Perry) Henifin near Bristow, Boyd Co., Nebraska. He was the 10th and last child born to them, and was truly a child of the Great Depression. Poverty and unpayable bills prompted the family to move with extended family to Baxter, Crow Wing County, Minnesota in the late 1930's. Job availability in the Pacific Northwest during WWII brought many of them to Washington State. Robert graduated from the original Union High School in Clark County, and he then served 3 years (1950-1953) in the U. S. Army. Bob served our country while the Korean War started, and earned an Honorable Discharge with the rank of Corporal. He then attended Clark Community College earning a two year degree.
Robert married Betty June (nee Griffith) Buhman on 6-7-1955, and finished raising her daughters, Mary Ann (Buhman) Phillips and Constance Gail (Buhman) Iverson. Three more children blessed the family, Roberta Bee Baumgarten, Lawrence Dean, and David Charles.
He took a job as a pipefitter at Crown Zellerback in Camas, Washington in the late 1950's, and became an active member in IBEW Local 77. He served twice as the local president of the Western Washington Pulp & Paper Workers Union (1977-78). Roberta's untimely death, in a mill accident, shook the family and the community in 1978, but healing occurred. Robert remained with Betty until lung fibrosis claimed her in 1985.
Robert took early retirement from the James River Paper Company when it was offered, and proceeded to enjoy 27+ years of retirement.
Robert was married to Diane Kay Roark from 1989-2002, who still remains a treasured family asset.
Bob enjoyed playing pool and schooling opponents on geometry and unplayable "leaves". He loved to dance a couple of times a week at community dances with live music. He tried to stay organized and as active as his health would permit, so it is ironic that dementia got the better of him over the last year with mini strokes hindering his speech and challenging his ability to communicate. Complications of aphasia and old age claimed his withering body, but his soul remains alive and well in those who know him.
Robert is survived by his brother, Marion of Portland; his daughters, Mary Phillips of Vancouver and Connie (Ray) Iverson of Marshall, TX; his sons, Larry (Carol) of Richland and David (Jane) of Missoula, MT; a special nephew, Doug Crawford of Lacy; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; special friend, Consuelo Kroeger; and a large extended family who wish him a joyous reunion with family in the after-life.
Funeral services will be held at Evergreen Memorial Gardens on Monday, February 25th at 10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your local VFW, American Legion, or
Please sign Robert 's Guest Book at www.columbian.com/obits.
Published in The Columbian on Feb. 23, 2013