Cover photo for Arlene Esther (Abenroth)  Henke's Obituary
Arlene Esther (Abenroth)  Henke Profile Photo
1960 Arlene 2022

Arlene Esther (Abenroth) Henke

May 18, 1960 — December 8, 2022


Arlene Esther (Abenroth) Henke was born May 18, 1960, in Fallbrook, California to Albert and Nita (Cairnes) Abenroth.  Arlene passed away on December 8, 2022, from a brief fight with neuroendocrine cancer in Great Falls, Montana.

Visitation will be held Friday, December 16, from 6-8pm at Whitted Funeral Chapel Shelby. Funeral services will be Saturday, December 17, at 10:00am at Shelby High School Auditorium. A reception in the school multi-purpose room will follow the service.

In 1964 her family settled in Holly, Oregon, and bought a 54-acre farm.  This was where Arlene spent her “growing up years”.  She graduated from Sweet Home High School in 1978 just after her 18th birthday.  She went on to attend Merritt-Davis Business School in Salem, Oregon, and received a certification for secretarial work.  She then got a job working for Hewlett-Packard as a telephone operator and secretarial assistant and worked there for about a year.  After that, she worked briefly for the Corrections Division in Pendleton, Oregon before going home to the farm for a period of time.

Arlene’s parents loved the truth of God and they lived this love in their daily lives.  They faithfully attended the Sunday morning meetings and Wednesday night meetings.  This love of truth that was seen in her parents had a profound influence on her life.  When Arlene was 14 years old she made the choice to serve God.  She stayed faithful to this choice her entire life.

In January of 1983, Arlene moved to Seattle, Washington where her sister Lois was living.  She got a job with Burlington Resources and worked her way up to the executive assistant of the CEO of the company.  She remained at that job for several years before being given a choice to move to Texas or take a severance package; she chose the severance and then attended Bellevue Community College and worked on her accounting degree which she later finished from her home in Montana.

In May of 1994, Arlene met a farmer named Miles Henke and she moved to Shelby, Montana, and started working for Torgerson’s in Ethridge.  Miles and Arlene were finally married on November 16, 1996, and spent 26 married years together.  Miles and Arlene both wished they would have met each other sooner.  Their first son Luke was born on October 19th, 1997, followed by their second son Jonathan on February 16th, 2000.

Arlene loved trips to Glacier National Park and the coast of Oregon.  She worked for many years and was instrumental in getting the Ethridge County Water District up and going.  She was also Miles’ right hand on the farm, and they worked together day in and day out.  She loved numbers and kept busy in her office.

Arlene will be fondly remembered by her sons for their Junior Explorer trips, walks on the trail, and pulling the wagon for the boys when they got tired or picked up too many rocks.  She loved her special times with her boys, and they will treasure those memories forever.

She loved conversations on the phone with her sister and friends and could talk and laugh for hours.  We will always remember her kindness, her sense of humor, and her wholeheartedness.

Arlene is preceded in death by her mother, Nita Abenroth in January of 1991; her father, Albert Abenroth in February of 2013; and her father-in-law, Jules Henke in July of 2019.

Arlene is survived by her husband, Miles; their children, Luke (Martha) Henke of Glendive, Jonathan Henke, and special friend, Kasondra Grillo of Bozeman; sister, Lois Pierce of Oregon; mother-in-law, Leona Henke of Shelby; brothers-in-law, Kevin (Charlene) Henke of Dupuyer, Curt (Linda) Henke of Shelby, Tom Henke of Shelby; sisters-in-law; Yvonne (Bob) Neary of Oregon and Janette Racki of Cut Bank; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and special friends.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Arlene Esther (Abenroth) Henke, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, December 16, 2022

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

Whitted Funeral Chapel, Shelby

225 6th Avenue South, Shelby, MT 59474

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Shelby High School Auditorium

1001 Valley Street, Shelby, MT 59474

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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