Joan Corrine Henkel thumbnail

Joan Henkel

October 4, 1930 - March 15, 2020

Lifelong resident of Portland, Oregon, Joan Corrine Bocci Henkel passed away peacefully on March 15, 2020.


Joan had an infectious giggle, continuous smile and a twinkle in her eye. She was fun loving, upbeat, outgoing, and generous with her family and close friends. She had a knack for cultivating one on one relationships with people that made them feel special and loved. Between weekly family dinners, daily phone calls, and frequent Portal video visits, she was constantly in contact with the many people she loved all hours of the day. Joan loved cookies and ice cream and watching the Price is Right and the Hallmark channel. She loved games and playing cards, especially I Buy and Golf.


Joan was born on October 4, 1930 and lived in SE Portland her entire life.  A member of St. Philip Neri Parish, Joan attended church regularly with her family and attended grade school there. She graduated in 1948 from St. Mary’s Academy High School.


She went on to study nursing at the Providence School of Nursing, graduating in 1951. She was very proud to be a member of the class of 1951!


She cherished the friends she made in school and kept in close touch with them for the next 70 years.


Joan worked at Providence Hospital for 45 years before retiring in 1995. She spent most of her time there as the Emergency Room Nursing Supervisor. In addition to her medical expertise, her ability to strike up conversations with anyone she met suited her well in her role as a nurse. She was later appointed to the State Board of Nursing by Governor Tom McCall and reappointed by Governor Robert Straub, an honor she was very proud of. She was active with the board for many years.


Her career in nursing also led her to meet her husband John. She was invited out on a group date with several of her classmates and upon meeting her he was quite taken by her navy cashmere sweater and Pendleton plaid skirt. They were married months later and drove through the snow to honeymoon in California.


Joan and John W. Henkel were married for 66 years, until he passed away in May 2018. Together they enjoyed cooking and camping with friends and family in their travel trailer. They often traveled to Palm Springs and to the Oregon Coast favoring Cape Lookout and Fort Stevens State parks.


Joan’s lifelong dream was to own a beach house. When the opportunity arose to buy a second home in Rockaway, they jumped on it and spent the next 25+ years going back and forth from Portland to enjoy the sand and sun. Joan loved catching the bus to Lincoln City to play penny slots at the casino. She never left empty handed, even if it meant asking for a free deck of cards.


Joan also enjoyed traveling. She loved cruises, bus trips, and vacations to Mexico with her daughters and grandchildren.


As the matriarch, Joan was the keeper of family stories, recipes, and heirlooms. She regularly hosted ravioli and cookie parties and made sure to always take a few minutes to explain to all attending the family history behind the activity.


Every summer she would make raspberry jam to give away from the berries in her garden and before her eyesight started to fade, she would crochet washcloths, potholders, and rugs to share with her family.


Joan was a bargain hunter with ample storage in her basement. She looked forward to clipping coupons for Safeway sales and closeouts at the Meier and Frank Warehouse.


More than anything else, Joan loved to spend time in the swimming pool in her backyard with her family. She loved the sun and loved that all of her children, grandchildren and great grand babies loved the pool too.


Joan is survived by her 5 daughters, Susan Sharp (Tom Heckenberg), Roberta Colburn (John), Mary Jo Corrado (Greg), Patty Trautmann (Mike) and Paula Salu (Ace), 11 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.


A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to the Providence Medical Foundation, attention heart fund


In Memory of Joan Henkel


Mail a check:

Providence Portland Medical Foundation

Heart Fund

4805 NE Glisan Street Suite 1G14

Portland, Oregon 97213

In Memory of Joan Henkel, heart fund

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