Mark Priestley Henny lived life with an unquenchable and joyous fervor and passion. He charismatically lived life to the tune of his own jam. On July 25, 2022, at 10:18 AM, Mark peacefully released his spirit to God and took his journey to heaven. Mark’s deeply-good, gentle and generous heart will be greatly missed here.
Mark was born in Seattle, Washington on July 18, 1971 to parents David Christian Henny III and Marion Fay Henny, and grew up on South Whidbey Island, Washington, and graduated from South Whidbey High School in 1989. In Mark’s 51 years, he chose his own path less traveled, never afraid to take risks or defy the mainstream. He deeply loved his family, and had a tight circle of friends. His son Ian was born in 1995. Mark was blessed to have Ian close by during the last few months of Mark’s life.
Mark’s creativity and talent seemed boundless, and music was a strong passion. He was influenced early on by 1980’s hard rock and heavy metal (the louder the better!). He found his musical groove playing guitar in numerous metal rock bands, including his own grunge band “Grumblethorp.” It was one of the featured bands on the 1993 locally-featured artist album “Cultural Snapshot ‘93” and debuted their song “The Forgotten.”
Mark had the best sense of humor. He saw the world through his own laugh-track lens, and his (sometimes irreverent) humor made him especially entertaining to be around. He held an almost encyclopedic memory for quips, quotes, sons and jokes, and his smile and laugh were contagious. Mark’s fun sense of humor even showed itself in his outgoing voicemail message. It still gets us, and we call back just to hear his cheerful voice. Mark would regularly write and journal. His writing and poetry were at times introspective, but mostly hilarious. Mark always had something to say, and was never afraid to say it with conviction. He held strong religious, social and political beliefs that he enjoyed sharing with his colleagues, family and friends.
Mark loved tinkering, welding, flying lessons, motorcycles, the outdoors, bass fishing and collecting. He enjoyed spending most of his time at home working on one of his many projects and hobbies. He was a self-taught mechanic, and enjoyed operating his big machines on his property. Mark had a passion for self-sustainable living and being prepared for changes in the world’s future. Mark was unpretentious, good natured and he practically glowed when he got to talking about his favorite things, or telling a great joke – some of which were feats of incredible original poetry rooted in his excellent sense of humor.
Mark loved guns, fireworks and things that made a gigantic BOOM. It goes without saying that his favorite holiday was the Fourth of July. On that holiday, Mark blended his passionate love for our Country and the opportunity to celebrate it loudly. Mark loved food, and was especially handy on the grill and making salads with his own twist on his favorite Italians dressing. Mark followed his heart in his work, always wanting to give the extra measure to a project for which he was proud.
Mark had an intense personal Christian faith and attended Calvary Chapel on South Whidbey. Mark held passionate views about the United States Constitution and lived his life aligned with its tenets. He was always a proud American. After graduating high school, Mark worked for a number of years at the family business, Whidbey Telecom. He prided himself in being an excellent wire splicer, which came in handy when he later moved to Arizona and worked for the local telecom there. He and his dad would talk about the difference in quality and pride of workmanship, and the excellent example and skills he learned from Whidbey Telecom. Mark later moved back to Whidbey and worked at Hanson’s Building Suplly for several years, in which he took great pride. In 2017, he took ownership of his beloved Whidbey Arms gun shop with his friend Craig Justus.
Mark lived more than nine lives. He would joke about his many “Near Mark Experiences.” Many times over the years, Mark would have incredibly close calls that could have been life-ending, but somehow always beat the odds and lived to tell the tale.
In December 2020, Mark was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and given just days to live. But Mark was not ready. He fought hard against the disease, and his strength and determination to live was astounding. We have been blessed to have had an extra year and a half with him. Even to the end, Mark’s goal was to defy the odds of his leukemia, and would rally again and again. But when all the earthly options were tried, God finally called him home.
Mark was preceded in death by his father David Christian Henny III, and leaves family members, son Ian Priestley Henny, mother Marion Fay Henny, brother George T.F. Henny and George’s children Kiana, Liam and Taryn, sister Julia Fay Henny, and her son Kyle, Kyle’s wife, Erin and their daughter Holland, as well as Mark’s half-siblings Sarah, David, Anne and Gretchen and their children, and many cousins. He also leaves his love Sylvan Taylor, who was steadfast with him to the end.
Mark certainly lived life the way he wanted – with a zest for life and experiencing all he could, as only Mark would have it. Mark will be missed by all those that knew and loved him. A Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 2 PM at Calvary Chapel on South Whidbey Island. Details will be forthcoming. We encourage contributions of stories, pictures and memories that honor Mark and his life.