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Henken's passing memorialized June 23
ARLINGTON — John Henken, a longstanding member of the Rotary Club of Arlington, will be remembered by those who knew him at two separate events on Saturday, June 23.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located at 415 S. 18th St. in Mount Vernon, has scheduled a memorial service for Henken at 10 a.m. that day, while fellow Arlington Rotarian Dave Duskin will speak about Henken's battle with cancer at the Arlington Relay For Life, which kicks off that afternoon at 1 p.m.
Duskin received permission from Henken's widow, Mylene, to add her husband as a posthumous member of the Arlington Rotary's Relay team, to honor Henken's membership in the Arlington Rotary since 1981, which included a stint as its president from 1988-89.
"He was part of the group that went up to Canada to study how a Rotary Club's 'duck derby' was done," Duskin said. "He and Mike Jarboe chaired our first race."
The British Columbia Rotary's rubbery duck derby was adopted by the Arlington Rotary to meet the $10,000 it had pledged toward at the construction of an Arlington community youth center for the Boys & Girls Club in 1987.
"John was very active in the Chamber of Commerce," Duskin said. "He and Pat Pittson were tireless members of the Good Roads Committee, and attended statewide meetings to make sure that monies were spent on our local highways, such as state routes 530 and 9."
Duskin went on to recall that Henken remained one of the Arlington Rotary's top sellers of Duck Dash tickets, and in 2001 was the single top seller of Duck Dash tickets. According to Duskin, Henken also had a nearly perfect attendance record at Arlington Rotary meetings, and as such was greatly missed when his health eventually forced him to miss meetings.
"We could always count on a story or joke from John at our meetings," Duskin said. "His sense of humor was great, but often there were groans as well as laughter at his jokes and stories."
The Arlington Rotary Board moved unanimously to make Henken an honorary member, and Duskin described it as a "no-brainer" to make Henken an honorary member of the Order of the Duck as well, which is usually reserved for those who have sported the costume.
"He always sported that Disneyland duck hat while he was out selling tickets," Duskin said. "I know that it was John's dream to see his plans for an Island Crossing commercial center come to fruition before his death. It's too bad that the economy turned bad about the time his efforts to get the area annexed to Arlington and rezoned got accomplished, or else I think he would have seen his dream come true."