Henrietta “Hank” Elizabeth Songer passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at the Greenhouse Living facility. She was 94 years old.
Hank was born on October 7, 1922 in Sheridan, to Leroy and Mildred (Nietman) Calkins, the youngest of siblings Jim, Laura (Pelesky), and Claire (Yorks). She attended schools in the Sheridan area and graduated from Sheridan High School in 1940. Upon graduation, she attended Iowa State Teachers College and later studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In June of 1942, Hank married Ed Matthews and had a son, Steve Songer. Hank and Ed divorced in 1948 and she later married Charles A. Songer.
Hank was employed as a journeyman machinist at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard during World War II. She was later employed as an industrial engineer for military contractors in Southern California, working on various missile launching and guidance systems. Hank was featured in the local newspaper as an “Outstanding Woman in Industry” in recognition for her contributions to efficiencies in production. The story was also featured in the Sheridan Press.
In 1961, Hank, Charles, and Steve returned home to Sheridan. Hank worked for her Brother-in-law, Joe (Laura) Pelesky at J.D. Pelesky Construction Company, Inc., as accountant and office manager until her retirement in 1984.
Hank was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying fishing, hunting, backpacking, horseback, snow machining, photography, and any other activity or adventure in the Big Horns. She especially enjoyed sharing her love of the outdoors with family and friends. Hank was also an accomplished artist, producing many oil paintings depicting her favorite scenes in nature. In addition, she was known for her writing, being a frequent contributor to “Silver Threads” in the Sheridan Press, and publishing a book “The View from My Soapbox”.
Hank was a third generation member of the Sheridan Trinity Lutheran Church. She was active in many local organizations including the Women’s Bowling Association and the Big Horn Mountain Cabin Owners Association, where she held the offices of Secretary and President for many years.
Hank was preceded in death by her siblings and her son, Steve. She is survived by her grandsons, Troy (Brenda) Songer, Brian (Moana) Songer, and Kevin Songer, 5 great grandchildren, and 2 great great grandchildren, nephew Gerry (Dee) Pelesky, and niece Pat Schwaiger (Pelesky).
A celebration of Hank’s life will be held at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 135 Crescent Dr., on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 11:00 am with Pastor Phil Wold officiating. A reception for family and friends will be held at the church immediately following the service. At Hank’s request, her ashes will be spread amongst the Big Horns. Hank requested that memorials benefit the Sheridan Senior Center “Meals on Wheels” or “Mini-Bus” programs, 211 Smith St., Sheridan, WY 82801. The family would like to recognize the Greenhouse Living facility for the exceptional care they provide for our elders. Online condolences may be written at www.championfh.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Champion Funeral Home.