1911 – 2011
Camilla Caroline Henkenius, daughter of August Henkenius and Anna Marie Bruening, was born Aug 5, 1911 and died in Neligh on May 5, 2011 at the age of 99 years and 9 months.
She was born on a small farm on the Cedar Creek, southeast of Elgin. She soon was called Ervilla though she has no recollection of when or why. Life was different early in the last century. They were isolated farm people with no close neighbors. August farmed and hunted rabbit, squirrel, pheasant and duck. Ervilla and her siblings climbed trees and played in the fields.
The children went to the Horn Country School near their home some years but travelled the 5 miles to St. Boniface other years. When they went to St. Boniface, they boarded at the school dormitory all week and just went home on the weekends. Her formal education ended with the 8th grade; however, Ervilla went on to get a GED certificate in later years.
Ervilla moved to Albion where she worked for Dr McCready. She stayed at the doctor’s home and worked at his office and the hospital. When she returned she met a tall and handsome Bernard T. Selting.
They were married at St. Bonaventure church in Raeville, Nebraska on Sept. 18, 1934 and farmed near there. Ervilla played the piano and Ben played the guitar and accordion in a local 5-piece band for house dances, barn dances and Raeville hall dances. Ervilla continued to play the piano throughout her life.
In 1942, they moved to Hillsboro, Oregon and, in 1945, to Boulder, Colorado. In 1947, they moved back to Elgin and built a garage where the family of 7 lived for 2 years while Ben built a home. Ben started a construction company and, in 1955, went back to farming full time.
Ervilla was busy doing the things that farmwomen did in those days. She raised vegetables and canned them for use throughout the year and baked bread almost daily. She made sauerkraut and even made lye soap in the basement. She was also an avid quilter, making over 150 quilts.
Ervilla still made time for church and friends and was an important and popular part of her community. She was a founding member of the Woman’s Club and held every office over the years including president. She was also a member of Hobby Club, Renew Group, St. Boniface Altar Society, and a Board member of the National Council of Catholic Women as well as a Girl Scout Council member. Ervilla and Ben traveled extensively from Spain to Hong Kong and from Alaska to Acapulco until Ben’s death in 1983.
Ervilla is survived by five children; Donald (Nancy) Selting of Elgin and their children Leigh (Marsha), Lynn (Amy), Gene (Angie), Jamie (Dixie), Joseph (Tina); Arlyn (Jan) Selting of Bozeman and their children Ann (David Sosa), Rachel (Todd) Armstrong, and Amy (Ted) Williams; Karen Haley of Milwaukee, WI and children Timothy (Jan), Michael (Brooke), Patrick (Mandy),Christina (Scott) Hewitt, and Jennifer Haley; Wayne (Renee) Selting of Colorado Springs, CO and children Kim (Brian) Null, Terri (Marc) David, Molly, and Caroline; Bernard (Mary) Selting of Anacortes, WA and children Elise (Nick) Lentini, Stephen, Ben, and Kate. She is also survived by 39 Great-Grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, two brothers Wilfred and Melvern Henkenius, and two sisters Querina Landauer and Violet Buelt.
Services were held Monday, May 9 at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Elgin, with burial in the parish cemetery.
Pallbearers were Lynn Selting, Gene Selting, Anne Selting, Rachel Armstrong, Timothy Haley and Michael Haley. Honorary Pallbearers were Jamie Selting, Joseph Selting and Patrick Haley.
Condolences to the family may be left at www.huffmanlevander.com.