Judith Henkel
Judith Henkel

Obituary of Judith A. Henkel

Judith Ann Henkel, 86, of Poughkeepsie, NY passed away suddenly on Wednesday, October 4, 2023. She had been living with Parkinson’s disease for several years.

She was born in Racine, Wisconsin on November 27, 1936 to Harvey and Maxine (Howe) Thygeson. Judith grew up in Racine with her brother Robert “Bob” and later moved to Poughkeepsie. She married Hans O. Henkel on October 12, 1957 at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Poughkeepsie.

Following graduation from St. Mary’s School of Nursing in Milwaukee, WI, early in her career Judith worked as a licensed practical nurse in obstetrics at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie. She retired from Planned Parenthood of Dutchess-Ulster, Inc. in 1990 after nearly 20 years, lastly serving as Director of Education. While raising her two children and working full time, she attended Empire State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Educational Services in 1979.

Judith was an avid traveler, having visited nearly every continent, and enjoyed learning about new cultures. Each year she looked forward to her annual November trip to the Yucatán. Often staying six weeks or longer at her timeshare, she was considered family with resort staff and spent countless hours assisting with instruction of their English as a Second Language classes. Judith also taught these classes at her church, First Evangelical Lutheran, where for many years she served on the church council, helped coordinate and volunteered for numerous events, and even wrote sermons and preached during intervals when the church was without a full time pastor.

For many years, Judith served on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie and was active as an Honorary Member of The Fortnightly Club of Fishkill on Hudson, and the local chapter of P.E.O. International promoting educational opportunities for women.

Judith was predeceased by her husband Hans O. Henkel and brother Robert Thygeson. She is survived by her children Jeffrey Henkel (Sharon Henkel) of Poughkeepsie, NY and Susan Henkel (Catherine Carroll) of Hillsdale, NJ, sisters Janet Nothnagel (John Nothnagel) of Hyde Park, NY and Kathy Darbutas (Ray Darbutas) of Surprise, Arizona, sister-in-law Marilyn Thygeson of Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Judith’s family invites you to join them in a celebration of life. The service will be held at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 325 Mill Street, Poughkeepsie, NY on Saturday, October 14 at 10am. A private interment will immediately follow at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.

Judith was so loved and will be missed dearly.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation made in Judith’s memory to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research online at give.michaeljfox.org, the First Evangelical Lutheran Church or the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie.

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