Pauline Henson

Obituary of Pauline Elizabeth Henson

HENSON, Pauline Elizabeth

Peacefully and surrounded by family, Pauline Elizabeth Henson passed away in Amherstview, Ontario, on February 18, 2022.


Left to mourn are her children, Hal (Barbara), Doug (Lori), Elizabeth (Craig), and her grandchildren, Natalie (Travis), Rebecca (Christie), Alexandra, and Bridget.


Pauline was born in Kingston. She studied Biochemistry at Queens University and was one of only three women in her class. Pauline went on to do graduate work at Case Western Reserve looking at nucleotide synthesis. She worked in research labs in Texas, Alberta, and Ontario. She was instrumental in setting up the first virology lab in Canada. Walter and Pauline first met at Queens when Walter was her lab demonstrator in Comparative Anatomy. They built their romance on a mutual adoration of science, intelligent discourse, and playful curiosity. After she married Walter, they moved to New Haven, where they started their family. They moved back to Canada in the late sixties, finally settling in Manitoba. Just before she turned 90, Pauline returned to the shores of Lake Ontario near Collins Bay – where she swam and played as a child. She moved to Helen Henderson Care home where she lived the rest of her life.


Pauline was brilliant and beautiful. She created a home where scientific advances were discussed at the dinner table. The Journal of Biological Chemistry sat beside the New Yorker and Atlantic on the coffee table. Pauline loved nature and animals. She identified every bird, loved every dog. Pauline also had a playful side, loved clothing and fashion – she always chose the best gifts for the women in her family.


A quote by a friend that Mom did graduate work with sums her up best: “With time, many of the facts I learned were forgotten, but I never lost the excitement of discovery.”


The family would like to extend their gratitude to Helen Henderson Care Center for their exemplary care of Mom over the past five years.


In lieu of flowers, donations in Pauline’s memory can be made to the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, so her daughter and her colleagues can continue to do the research in cancer biology, which gave her so much pride.