Publisher's Note: A heartfelt farewell to a quiet community hero: Dr. John Henricksen


In the hustle and bustle of life, it's easy to overlook the quiet heroes among us. Dr. John Henricksen, who recently passed away, was one such hero — a man whose life was defined by selfless service, unwavering commitment and a heart brimming with compassion. As I sit down to write this, I find myself reflecting not just on his deeds but on the man behind those deeds, a man who left an indelible mark on our community and beyond.

John's journey was one of quiet yet profound impact. He was not a man who sought the spotlight; rather, he was the force working tirelessly behind the scenes, ensuring that needs were met and lives were improved. His work with the Rotary Club, particularly his efforts to bring a bus loaded with wheelchairs and supplies to special-needs students in La Barca, Mexico, is a testament to his generosity and dedication. This was no small feat; it involved driving the bus himself, navigating international borders and ensuring the safe delivery of much-needed resources. This was John in his element — seeing a need, stepping up and making a difference.

But John's contributions were not limited to grand gestures. He was equally dedicated to the smaller, everyday acts of kindness that often go unnoticed. His expertise in forensic dentistry, for instance, was invaluable to law enforcement agencies, helping to identify remains and bring closure to grieving families. His work in this field was not about recognition or financial gain; it was about providing a service that only he could offer, and he did so willingly and without charge.

He remained our area’s leading citizen volunteer pushing forward for the flood retention facility above Pe Ell that is now in state and federal permit processes. 

John's humility was perhaps his most defining trait. Despite his numerous accomplishments, he never sought credit or accolades. He was content to see the fruits of his labor enjoyed by the community, be it the construction of Penny Playground or the new facilities at Chehalis Middle School. When asked about his contributions, John would often downplay his role, insisting that he was merely helping out where he could. This modesty was genuine, reflecting a man who found joy in service rather than in the recognition of that service.

In every aspect of his life, John embodied the spirit of giving. Whether through his dental practice, his civic duties or his personal interactions, he consistently put others before himself. He saw service as a civic duty, a responsibility that he fulfilled with grace and dedication. Even in his later years, as health and finances began to impose limitations, John continued to contribute in any way he could, always looking for ways to help those around him.

As we bid farewell to John, it's important to remember him not just for his deeds but for the person he was — a man of integrity, humility and boundless compassion. His legacy is not one of grand monuments or public accolades but of countless lives touched and communities strengthened. He leaves behind a world better for having had him in it, and his spirit of selfless service will continue to inspire all who knew him.

In celebrating John's life, we honor a quiet hero whose impact was felt far and wide. His story is a reminder that true greatness lies not in seeking recognition but in the quiet, unheralded acts of kindness that make our world a better place. Rest in peace, John Henricksen. You will be deeply missed, but your legacy of service and compassion will live on in the hearts of those you touched.

Chad Taylor is owner and publisher of The Chronicle. He can be reached at