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Harry Charles Henriksen 86, of Mahomet, passed away July 1st, the result of injuries related to a fall in Chicago, Illinois.
He is survived by his daughter Alicia, and sons Erik and Niel. Other survivors include his grandsons Jackson and Clayton, his niece Jaqueline Gustafson and nephew James Henriksen and cousin, Thomas Nielsen. Also mourning his loss is his best friend of 66 years “Uncle Frank” Krasnowski.
Preceding him in death were his brother James Henriksen, his parents James and Esther Henriksen, and Jeannine (nee Moretti), his loving wife of 59 years.
Mr. Henriksen was born in Chicago on January 6, 1932. He graduated from Lane Technical High School in Chicago in 1949. While at Lane, he was starting halfback on the soccer team that won the ’49 City of Chicago and State Championships. In addition to soccer, he excelled at speed skating, and skated for both Lane Tech and the Northwest Skating Club. He attended and graduated Wright Jr. College in 1951 and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois, in 1953. In 1957, Henriksen earned his Master of Arts degree, with specialties in Anthropology and Archaeology. Mr. Henriksen is a US Marine Corp veteran.
In January 1953, he met Jeannine Moretti, the love of his life. They were married that same year in Champaign, at the Campus Lutheran Church. The couple had three children, Alicia, Erik and Niel.
Mr. Henriksen is a retiree of the University of Illinois having been curator of the Museum of Natural History from 1957 to his retirement in 1987. His business interests also included real estate and a small ceramics business.
Henriksen wrote an article titled Your Museum: A Resource for the Blind, which appeared in the October 1971 issue of Museum News. The article detailed his experience in making the museum accessible to the blind, including when he gave tours. He was later honored for the article by the Rose Kennedy Foundation, in Washington D.C.
In 1967, Henriksen began his love affair with German Shepherds. He would have three of them and loved them all.
Harry and his wife, Jeannine, were very much involved in both figure skating and speed skating as a result the involvement of their three children. He served several years as president of the Illini Figure Skating Club and was a USFSA low figure test judge.
Henriksen was also manager of The Champaign Urbana F.O.P Speed Skating Club during the ’74 and ’75 seasons when the team won the State Team Championship. He was a National timer and finish judge in speed skating for many years. He was an organizer of the 1975 National Indoor Championships held at the U of I Arena. With innovation, expertise and foresight, he was a key member of the organizing committee for the 1976 1st World Short Track Speedskating Competition, also held in Champaign. This first foray into international short track skating paved the way to the sports status as a full world championship, a demo sport at the 1988 Winter Olympics, and its elevation to full Olympic medal status in 1992.
In addition, Henriksen was special consultant to the Avery Brundage Olympic collection at the World Heritage Museum and updated the collection for many years.
He had friends locally, nationally and internationally.
He loved his wife and his three children who although were similar, are leaps and bounds different and individual. He passed knowing that they all love each other more than ever and are forever his legacy of the Henriksen team.
Harry Charles Henriksen was a prayerful man of faith who loved being a child of God in the auspices of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
Visitation will be from 6:30 PM to 8:30PM, Friday July 13, at Owens Funeral Home (101 N. Elm St, Champaign). Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Osman (942 Grape Ave, Fisher). Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Mahomet.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorials can be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church of Osman; Museum of Danish America, Elk Horn, IA and Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI