Lucille “Tootie” Henning

Lucille “Tootie” Henning, 90, of Black Lake, died at McLaren Northern Michigan hospital in Petoskey Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Born and raised “on the hill” in Onaway, Tootie was the daughter of Wesley and Esther (Pangburn) Chapman.  She graduated from Onaway High School, went on to receive her teaching certificate from County Normal, and taught in Lake Orion before having a family. Also married “on the hill,” Tootie wed Robert E. Henning January 15, 1949. They made their home in the Detroit area from 1955 until 1977 when they returned north to live at their place tucked into the woods on the banks of Rainy River.


An avid reader, Tootie enjoyed mystery novels and anything written by Danielle Steele. She read her Devotional each day and wrote in her journal often. She was skilled with her hands, making beautiful embroidered tablecloths and pillowcases, as well as sewing dresses and clothing. An expert in the kitchen, no one ever left Tootie’s house with an empty belly. She loved to feed people and was known for her delicious baked goods. Tootie turned her oven on in the fall and it stayed on until she finished baking (about Christmastime). She made jellies and jams from berries she picked and canned vegetables from the garden she shared with the deer, rabbit and raccoon neighbors.

Tootie shared a special bond with her sisters. Known as the “Recipe Sisters,” they were together often. Besides sharing recipes and cooking together, they loved to play Scrabble, Dice, or Polish Rummy. Sometimes the games became heated, but even so, the girls quickly forgot their disputes and would get together the following day for another game. The Recipe Sisters were some of the best berry and mushroom pickers in the county, spending hours in the woods at their favorite picking spots. Tootie had the eye for morels and could spot a mushroom from the car at 35 mph. The girls enjoyed each other’s company and made wonderful memories throughout their lives. What a reunion they must be having.

Very close with her daughters and son, Tootie talked with them every day. She loved spending the day with her daughters, going to the casino, out for lunch and shopping. She never turned down the opportunity to ride along on a trip out of town if there might possibly be a stop at the casino. During football season, Tootie’s weekends were spent at home in front of the television watching both college and professional football with her family. She was a huge fan of the University of Michigan and loved her “Brady Boy,” Tom Brady. Devoted to her family, Tootie made everyone feel loved in their own special way. She was particularly close to her granddaughter, Misty. The two were best friends; they enjoyed playing cards, shopping and spending time enjoying each other’s company. Tootie also was close with her nephew, Mitch Tank, who made it a point to have lunch and exchange home-baked cookies with his Aunt Tootie whenever he came over to fish on the Rainy River.

Kind, compassionate and generous, Tootie was a great supporter of St. Jude Children’s Hospital. At 90 years old, she was sharp as a tack, strong-willed, and extremely independent. She was definitely set in her ways, had a particular way of doing things, and had a place for everything and everything in its place. She was fun with the most wonderful sense of humor, making her funny remarks right to the final moments of her long, blessed life. Tootie will forever remain in our hearts watching over us from Heaven.

Surviving Too

tie are her three daughters, Charlotte Robinson (Steve Widajewski) and Nannette (Chris) Chagnon, both of Black Lake and Mary Henning (Ed Neumann) of Rogers City; a son, Bob (Tammie) Henning of Onaway; eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-granddaughter; as well as her sister, Nancy Thompson of Bay City; sister-in-law, Delores Timpf of Alanson; and many nieces and nephews. Tootie was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Bob, in 2005; son-in-law, Ron Robinson; sisters, Dorothy Jurgensen, Louise Judge, Edith Reiger and Ruth Tank; and brothers, Newton and Harold “Pete” Chapman.

A graveside memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 12, at North Allis Township Cemetery. The Rev. Trenton Wollberg will officiate. Those planning an expression of sympathy please consider a donation in memory of Lucille Henning to Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Cremation arrangements were in care of the Chagnon Funeral Home.