Carmen Henkel
Carmen Henkel

Obituary of Carmen Margaret Henkel

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In Loving Memory

Carmen Margaret Henkel

January 2, 1948 ~ March 17, 2024


Carmen Margaret Henkel nee Florence, of Stettler, Alberta beloved mother of Jayson and Lorne

Henkel passed away after a lengthy and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s on March 17, 2024 at the age of 76 years.

Carmen was born January 2nd, 1948, to Sylva Beryl Ramsay (Beryl) and Donovan George Florence in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She spent her early years as an adventurous farm girl, excelling in livestock care. She participated in 4H as a young girl and her animals were often claiming prizes. Having both your parents as teachers in your school proved difficult and Carmen developed a rebellious independent streak. This independence and self reliance became a hallmark of hers throughout her life, and she passed it on to her children. Carmen sensing there was more to life than what a classroom could provide struck out on her own, with stops in Quesnel, Gold River, Vancouver, Sooke and Campbell River moving west in the exchanging the farm fields of gold and wide open spaces she knew for the emerald, green forests of towering trees.

She attended hairdressing school and opened her own salon in Campbell River in the ‘70’s. It was in Campbell River she would meet and marry the father of her children.  In the summer of ‘76 she married Donald Henkel, a logger from Campbell River.

She followed that logger to a remote archipelago known then as the Queen Charlotte Islands, now Haida Gwaii. She braved the rugged remote wilds being a resourceful homemaker and raising her two sons in the logging camp Juskatla. She made many lifelong friends as one does when trying to eek out a living on the frontiers of society.

Seeking a better life for her children she left her husband and took her sons to Alberta, first to the comfort of her brother Geordie in Blackfalds, and she gathered the courage to strike out on her own.

This courage, strength and independence would carry her for the majority of her life. She would remain resilient and hard working, providing for her two boys, becoming a stalwart in Red Deer’s retail landscape, with positions at Sears and Woolco. She resided in Red Deer for many years making friends along the way. Always seeking a better life for her kids, she courageously uprooted once more. Establishing roots in Lacombe, to see her children through the formative high school years, Carmen had a significant impact on many of their sons' friends. She became a trusted confidant to a lot of at risk youth. Helping young girls especially navigate the transition from teens to adulthood.

Carmen was a natural in helping people and excelled in customer service positions, she spent time working for the Lacombe Chamber of Commerce, and the Alberta Lung Association, this customer first focus took her to Wetaskiwin where she worked at the Reynolds Alberta Museum for several years. She was very proud of the museum and shared it’s wonders with her 2 boys. It was in Wetaskiwin that she started her successful Balloon Magick business, she would sell unique gifts and arrangements. However, her biggest time of year was Christmas where she helped hundreds of hapless gift givers applying her incredible skills to wrap perfectly crisp cornered Christmas presents. She would adorn them with beautiful ribbons and bows, and they were truly works of art. Her booth became legendary, and she put in extremely long hours to ensure everyone’s gifts were wrapped on time. Braving winter roads and darkness, travelling back and forth between Lacombe and Wetaskiwin daily.

Carmen had moved to Stettler from Lacombe adding yet another central Alberta town to her impressive list. Wherever Carmen roamed, she made quick long lasting friendships. She was gregarious and knew people from all walks of life. She took a job with the local Walmart and became a dependable experienced expert that was tasked with assisting in opening stores throughout Alberta and BC, she often merged her creativity and compassion into fundraising efforts. She was extremely selfless, she often sought to help others, in Stettler this took the form of volunteering at the Legion. She became very engaged in the Legion recognizing the brave men and women that fought for our peace and prosperity supporting it’s activities. It was at the Legion that she finally met her match.

She remained unbridled, strong, and independent until she found the man of her dreams, Ton, the farmer that could finally tame her heart. Ton, the happy go lucky Dutchmen was the farm boy her inner farm girl had been searching for.

Ton, and Carmen shared a lot of memories, from crisp winter mornings to summer sunrises, she was most at home on the farm. She had the pleasure of accompanying Ton on trips to Montana to see his brother and to his native country, the Netherlands in 2014, meeting his mom, and adult children.

She joyfully spent her days “putzing” around the farm, gardening, and crafting. Carmen had an artist within her, and she could always be counted on to be doing something artistic, whether that was flower arranging or composing unique items, Carmen was always putting her creativity on full display. Photography was one of her true loves, and she never missed the chance to capture a beautiful sunrise at the crack of dawn or a ghostly pale moon as it lit up the snow on the fields. She captured numerous images of the farm, and remarked often on the peace, quiet and tranquility it brought her.

Lorne and Bridget’s wedding brought Carmen her first daughter-in-law. After a lifetime of raising boys, she finally had the “daughter” she’d always wanted, Bridget and Carmen would head out on mother-daughter-in-law excursions and enjoy girls’ night out. Each finding in the other, something they’d wanted for a lifetime.

Jayson and Milagros' wedding brought Carmen and Ton to South America, where together they attended the wedding and followed it up with a memorable trip to Machu Pichu. It was on this trip that Carmen acquired her much beloved white hat that would accompany her to the end of her days. Milagros and Jayson’s union brought her first grandchildren, Gabriel Hewson Henkel and Agustin Salvador Henkel born in January of 2022. The boys got to take some beautiful pictures with grandma a few months before her passing. We shall treasure these memories.

Carmen is survived by her loving sons’ Jayson and Lorne, and daughters-in-law Bridget and Milagros as well as her grandchildren Gabriel and Agustin. Brother Geordie Florence, his wife Debbie of Blackfalds, AB their children Tyler and Shyla will also remember the way she touched their lives.

Carmen was predeceased by first husband and second husband Donald Henkel in 2002. As well as parents Donovan and Beryl.

A private family service and interment will be held on Friday, May 24, 2024 followed by a public Celebration of Life at the Stettler Legion at 2:30 P.M. 


She will be greatly missed by all whose lives she touched.

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