Audrey J. (France) Henson , 86, of Dubuque completed her walk through life on July 9, 2019 while enjoying one last adventure in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Friends may greet the family from 2 to 5 pm on Saturday, July 20, 2019 at Egelhof, Siegert, Casper Funeral Home, 2659 John F. Kennedy Road in Dubuque. A private family service will be held at a later date.
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Audrey was born April 21, 1933 in Rockford, Illinois to Harry and Mildred (Dove) France. While in high school in Rockford, IL and being inspired by Amelia Earhart, Audrey obtained her private pilot’s license at age 18. She pursued additional flight training while attending the University of IL. She later studied airline management and went to work for Ozark Airlines. While working for Ozark Airlines in St. Louis, she met George M. Henson. They were married on December 12, 1953 in Rockford, Illinois. Together, they had four children. George preceded her in death in 2007.
While a busy mother she returned to school to complete her bachelor’s degree at the University of Dubuque and her master’s degree at UW-Platteville. During this time she and George also fostered 17 unwed mothers through Hillcrest Family Services.
Audrey spent 21 years working for the City of Dubuque as the cities first female police dispatcher. After her retirement, she remained busy working at Swiss Colony and volunteering at Central Alternative High School daycare, Grand View Childcare Center, and the Sunshine Circle. She was also a member of Dubuque Women’s Club, American Business Women, Dubuque Colts, Optimist Club, and Dubuque Bowling Association.
When she was not working or volunteering, you could usually find Audrey and George spending time with family and friends (even sometimes strangers) on their houseboat. Her love for the water has spread throughout her family. She loved adventure, traveling to all 50 states and many foreign countries. During quieter times, Audrey also spent much of her life knitting items for family, friends, and those in need. She won awards for her knitting work and enjoyed the creativity of different types of projects. She also loved to play games with friends and family whenever she had the chance. From card games to word games to board games, she loved friendly competition, but hated to lose.
Of all of her accomplishments, Audrey was most proud of her 53 years with her husband, George, and of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
She is survived by her 4 children, 7 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. Tyra (Dr. Leonard) Kutsch, of Dubuque; Thomas (Susanne) Henson of Marion, IA; Dr. Karin (Joseph) Egan of Park Ridge, IL; and Neil Henson of Dubuque.
Audrey was proud that she instilled a love for learning and adventure in her children and grandchildren. She was especially proud that all 7 graduated from college, Kirsten (Joshua) Weidemann, of Dubuque; Lindsey (Brendan) Blok, of Dubuque; Lauren (Jeff) Aleshire of Mission Woods, KS; Luke Henson of Marion, IA; Matt Egan of Park Ridge, IL; Brad Egan of Chicago, IL; and Greg Egan of Chicago, IL. She adored her five great-grandchildren, Eli and Drew Weidemann; Ellie and J.T. Blok; and Wyatt Aleshire.
She is also survived by a sister, Jean Ellis of Janesville, WI and a sister-in-law Diane France of Edmond, OK.
She was preceded in death by brothers Richard and David France.
Memorials made in Audrey’s honor will be forwarded to charities that she supported: Iowa Public Radio, Iowa Public Television, WVIK, and the Salvation Army.