Sanda "Mimi" Henny - 64 Years of an Inspiration Life

by Sarah Henny-Harvey
(Keizer, Oregon)

Mimi and her Grandkids
Mom and Dad - daughter's wedding photo
Sam Henny - Trainer and Mentor

Click on each photo to enlarge.

Sanda “Sam” Lois Henny, 64, a resident of Dallas died Thursday, March 15, 2012 in the Salem Hospital. She was born on April 8, 1947 in McMinnville, Oregon the daughter of Roscoe and Rosella Leno Langley. She married John Lemery Henny of Brooks, Oregon on November 30, 1968 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Grand Ronde, Oregon. The lived and worked in Brooks, for 30 years and were a proud member of the Gervais community and Catholic Church.

Sanda worked hard and was a proud member of the
Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and a Tribal Elder.
She worked for Spirit Mountain Casino as Tribal Development Manager and Trainer. She worked in the Human Resources field for more than 25 years in employee relations, training, organizational and career development. She was a member of the National Native American HR Association and a past member of the board of directors. Sanda was very talented as a Native American Basket Weaver and she has baskets displayed at University of Oregon, and Halle Ford Museum. She also taught basket weaving classes at other Oregon Tribes. She was a big fan of the Oregon State Beavers and the Seattle Mariners. She enjoyed making cards and doing crafts and was also a talented artist in paints. She was very dedicated to her husband, two children and four grandchildren. Sanda retired from Spirit Mountain Casino in December 2011 after her 10 year long courageous battle with cancer. Through it all she always had a smile for everyone and a fabulous sense of humor.

She is survived by her husband John of Dallas, son Adam (Julie) Henny of Beaverton and daughter Sarah (Michael) Harvey of Keizer along with four grandchildren Genevieve and John Henny and Jordan and Evan Harvey. Also surviving are siblings Roscoe Langley Jr. of Blakely, Georgia, Erwin Langley of Otis, Oregon and Joan Jones of Dallas, Oregon. Her other siblings who have walked on before her were Norita Wakeland, Myrna Brickell, Marvin Langley, and Jody Hubbell.

One of Sam’s most positive qualities was her positive outlook on life. She demonstrated this in her everyday life and no challenge was too big for her. Sam shared this great attributes with her co-worker’s at Spirit Mountain, with her children Adam and Sarah, and her husband John. All four of her grandchildren were shown a great example of strength, courage and mental toughness. Sanda was very close to her sister, Joan, and you can bet every year you would see them attending a Barry Manilow show in Vegas. Sanda also loved her big brothers Roscoe Jr., and Erwin and the many nieces and nephews.

Sam and John grew a successful nursery business for over 30 years in Brooks, Oregon. Sam and John were very involved in Adam & Sarah’s education at Sacred Heart Catholic School and then Gervais High School. You wouldn’t hear a louder fan than Sam on the sideline at any and all events. Sam started to work for Spirit Mtn. Development Corporation before the casino was built and came back to Human Resources where she worked in employee relations, training, and tribal career development. Her creation of tribal programming is now being modelled nationally by other Indian Tribes. Her work was very important to her and we are honoured to share that the National Native American Association will be dedicating the conference to Sam and her work in the fall.

Sam also had a special love for her best friend Tina Ridings and their family, who knew each other well while growing up in Brooks. There were many camping trips, boat rides, rummy games and new year’s eve parties. A life-long friend that she held a special place for.
Anyone who knew Sam knew how much her children meant to her, but especially her Grandchildren, who called her “Mimi.”

Genna, she loved how much you looked like her and you have that firey Langley spirit and determination. Jordan, she always called you a kind soul, and loved your competitive spirit. Evan, she loved your logic, your attention to detail & great kisses...and then there is John (named after his Papa) she enjoyed your talks about the stars & galaxies, your special friendship with Papa and your wonderful hugs. Her daughter-in-law Julie and son-in-law Michael were just like children to her. Sam loved them and often said she didn’t know what she would do without them. She was very proud that both Adam and Sarah have been married over 16 years, what a great example of commitment.

Sam’s goal was to be a great mother, a great example for others and to use her mind creatively on a daily basis. Around 2002 Sam attended a weaving conference in Umatilla Oregon and began to learn how to weave with hemp and Pendleton wool. She was a natural. Sam’s goal was to be a Master Weaver and all though she felt she had not earned the title, we all believe she was. Sam was a great artist not just in weaving, but paints, and crafting.

Sam never missed a Mariner game on TV with John, and she loved going to cheer on Beaver Football. She loved Grey’s Anatomy, Star Wars, Star Trek, Poker with the boys, Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving and let’s not forget how we all had to celebrate her birth-month (not birthday, it did go on for an entire month). Sam loved a good lunch date with a friend, an iced Starbucks espresso, a road trip to an Indian Casino, and morning breakfast with John.

One of Sam’s favorite quotes was, “Your reputation is the stories that other’s tell about you.” What wonderful stories we have about Sanda, Sam, Aunt San, Sammy, Hoots, Mom, Mimi and a dear friend. It is up to us all to keep those stories going.

When Sam was first diagnosed with cancer she took the news calmly, but she was determined to fight and win. She did win, as for many years she was and is considered a medical miracle. She had many happy and productive years and she continued to teach, work, travel and live life every day. Many of us never knew she was sick. Sam’s spirit was very strong and her family want us all to know that, we should not be sad, but happy at the lifetime of love and laughter that truly was had.

Sam was a mother to many, not just her children, and a friend to all.

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