Christine Joy (Huetger) Henriksen was born April 30, 1952 in Washington DC and passed away on April 21, 2023 in Sun City, AZ after a very long battle with Parkinson’s and dementia.
Chris grew up in Alexandria, VA one of eight children.
Life wasn’t easy at the Huetger household with all those mouths to feed.
When 16 Chris requested to be made a ward of the state and went to live with the Donald and Kathy Rushford family in Montpeilier, VT.
With the Rushford’s she blossomed and grew in a stable, loving and supportive family.
Despite only being with the Rushford’s for three years, the children considered her to be the older sister.
She always said the Rushford’s had saved her.
After graduating high school in 1971 Chris joined the Air Force. Following basic training she was assigned to F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne, WY.
It was there she met Neil Henriksen.
The courtship began and despite being a city girl now with a Wisconsin guy she set aside her fears of the outdoors and country life as they grew closer together.
On Dec 2, 1972 in Frederic, WI, following a large snowstorm, they were married.
Their Air Force life took them to RAF Mildenhall, England where their first of two sons, Jason, was born.
Christine was always proud of being one of the first females at Mildenhall to have a baby and remain on active duty.
When her tour was complete and, she decided to leave the military. She didn’t want someone else raising their son.
As Neil continued his Air Force career she worked at the bases in a civil service capacity.
In 1978 she was blessed with a second son, Brian.
Together this family of four grew and explored the world together.
When Neil retired from the Air Force and they returned to his home in Luck, WI.
Together they began working at the Minneapolis VA until her retirement in 2013.
In 2015 with both retired the couple went looking for warmer winter climates than Wisconsin.
Stopping to visit friends in Sun City, AZ Neil suggested they go look at houses.
“I’m not buying a house in Arizona,” she exclaimed.
When looking at a house a few days later she told Neil, Don’t lose this house!
It was then they earned the title, “Snowbirds.”
As her Parkinson’s and dementia continued to worsen it became clear Arizona was better for her than Wisconsin and they spent more and more time in the south.
She was enrolled in hospice care in January and went to a group home as her care was more than Neil could manage alone.
She passed away peacefully on April 21.
Even in death she continued to give as a brain and body donor to the Sun Heath Research Institute in the continued search for Parkinson’s and dementia treatments.
Christine is survived by her husband of just over 50 years, Neil. Sons Jason (Erica) and Brian. Grandchildren Autumn, Dylan, Eva, August, Torin and Fenris. Along with members of the Huetger’s and Rushford families.
We would like to pay special thanks to the Minneapolis and Phoenix VA’s along with Banner Sun Health Research institute in Sun City for their superior and compassionate care for Christine and support for Neil in these past years.