Gary Eugene Hensrude

December 12, 1942 ~ July 18, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old

Gary Hensrude Obituary

Gary Eugene Hensrude passed away in Seattle, Washington on July 18, 2023. He was 80 years old.

Gary was born December 12, 1942 in Bremerton, Washington. His parents were Vernon and Ila Hensrude. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Wayne Hensrude. He is survived by his sister, Ramona Hensrude, who lives in Tucson, AZ.

Gary graduated from Central Kitsap High School in 1962. He moved to Seattle after graduation. He served in the U.S. Army for two years. He lived in Seattle his entire adult life. He worked for several small companies in clerical and fiscal positions.

Outside of work, he enjoyed coaching youth softball, soccer and hockey during the 1980s.

Gary grew up in a small hamlet outside of Bremerton called Brownsville. It was a carefree country life. One thing that was missing during those formative years was meeting and getting to know cousins. The closest cousins were a bit younger than Gary and they lived in Seattle - a ferry ride and long drive from Brownsville.

Gary became interested in the family history in the 70s. He wanted to meet the cousins who lived in Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota. Gary’s father Vernon had two brothers and six sisters. The family lived on a farm in Minot, North Dakota until the Great Depression. Most of the family moved west to Washington or Montana seeking better opportunities to make a living. 

Gary tracked down cousins and visited them in North Dakota,

Minnesota and Montana. He interviewed relatives, collected old photographs and visited small town courthouses to research county records. He corresponded with historical societies and did research at the Seattle Public Library. He attended family reunions. He compiled some of this information into a book that he gave to these Midwest cousins. He mostly kept in touch with the Midwest relatives by letter, email and phone. He continued making these connections through Facebook. 

One of the highlights of his research in 2013 was to find the “passenger vessel SS Australia that brought our great grandparents from Bergen, Norway to New York City in October 1870.” He noted “that research did cost me a few dollars but it was worth it.”

In a letter he sent to relatives to collect information about families, he stated “I have been working on this family history project since 1973/1974, of which I have compiled over 4,400 names with over 3,000 living descendants of the Hensrud name.” Gary was a member of the Seattle Genealogical Society, the Scandinavian Interest Group and the Hallinglag of America.

Gary did not save his genealogy work except for what he shared in letters. Some relatives have copies of the book he compiled. Much of what he was working on in later years was handwritten into notebooks and loose paper that was lost when he moved to a senior apartment in 2019 and a move to a nursing home in 2023.

It was his hobby. He enjoyed sharing what he learned from decades of research. The advent of genealogical websites like Ancestry. Com and others makes it much easier to research family heritage now. If you share his passion for family history and were inspired by Gary to research your own family history, then let that be his legacy.

The family wishes to thank Teresa Espejo and Chris Louie at Loyal Heights Manor for helping Gary and to the doctors and nurses at Harborview Medical Center who cared for him in his final days.


Please share your memories and photos of Gary on his Tribute Wall, located above.


- Care Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home -



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