Dorothy Grace Miller Henion | The Journal of the San Juan Islands

Dorothy Grace Miller-Henion

February 15, 2023 1:30 am

Dodie loved her family, her friends and everyone she hadn’t met.

Our beloved Dorothy Henion passed away in Portland at the age of 92 after a serious fall. She was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1930 to Mary Reagan Miller and Robert Theophilus Miller. In 1952 she joined her older sister Margaret in San Francisco. This led to her meeting her adoring husband, Wakeman “Burr” Henion, at UC Berkeley. They married in 1954 and spent 66 years together.

She baked the best chocolate chip cookies that attracted all the neighborhood kids; But aside from the cookies, they came for the warm and friendly home they had made in the Oakland hills.

In 1977, Dodie and Burr took the whole family in and moved from the crowded, parched Bay Area to the idyllic island of San Juan. Within weeks, Dodie found her perfect job as Friday Harbor Elementary School’s indispensable secretary, while Burr became a carpenter and janitor to her 5 acres.

Their two children had sparked new passions that led to rewarding careers: Greg as a music teacher and Todd as a pilot.

As if a full-time job wasn’t enough, after a few years they opened *The Meadows*, a lovely bed and breakfast – one of the first on the island. People far and wide enjoyed Dodie’s cheerful demeanor along with Burr’s eye-twisting (and charming) puns.

Dodie and Burr moved to Portland, Oregon in 2002 to be closer to their children who survive: Todd, his wife Gwen Leland and their son Milo; and Greg, his wife Whitney (née Sutton) and their daughters Madeline and Daphne. Burr preceded her in death in April 2020 at the age of 94, laughing and joking to the end.

People were drawn to Dodie’s positive and sunny attitude. She opened her home and her arms to many who needed a warm, quiet place to be free from judgement. Dodie loved travelling, reading, all things British, loving her grandchildren, meeting new people and a good home cooked meal – especially when she wasn’t the cook.

She once estimated that she had cooked more than 80 turkeys for her family and stated that that was more than enough. She knew where the food inspector came from in Texas, she knew what her hairdresser’s daughter was learning in school, and what her plumber did before he became a plumber.

In short, Dodie loved people, and everyone loved her back.

We all miss her terribly. By following her examples of optimism, kindness and love, we keep a little bit of Dodie in the world.

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