Nancy Kay (Dronen Wichmann) Henning passed away on May 29, 2022 after a courageous battle against AML (leukemia). Nancy was born in Fargo, ND on October 14, 1955, graduated from Moorhead Senior High in 1973, and obtained a business degree from Interstate Business College. Nancy grew up in Moorhead, MN, moved to Cotton Lake and lived in the Detroit Lakes, MN, community for more than 40 years. During that time, Nancy worked at Merit Care, Dynamic Homes, and retired from the City of Detroit Lakes.
Nancy is survived by her husband Michael Henning, her son and his wife Charles and Rachel Wichmann, sister Jane (Robert) Hendrickson, brother Donald (Sandra) Dronen, cousins Debra (John) Gletne, Dwight Dronen, and Kay (David) Aaker, and five nieces and nephews and their children. Stepchildren Jeffrey Henning, Katie (Joe) Signorelli, and Kyle (Lindsay) Henning along with Mike’s six grandchildren that he willingly shared with her and that she adored and doted upon.
Nancy was preceded in death by her parents Arthur S. Dronen and Dorothy (Andrist) Dronen.
That’s who Nancy was on paper, but she was so much more to her family, friends, and her community. It’s difficult to describe the positive impact that Nancy had on others, but anyone who met her knows that she was a bright and beautiful soul who moved through our world and left us far too soon.
One word that described Nancy was “sparkle.” She counted everyone she met as her friend and she filled those friends’ worlds with surprises both big and small, oftentimes with an uncanny timing that would bring a little needed brightness into their world. She made work a delight for her coworkers and she made family trips fun for “the littles” by wrapping small presents that they could open along the way. For lake parties/holidays/hayrides/bonfires, Nancy could be counted on to bring a bag of fun special gifts that she had collected at yard sales and thrift shopping (a couple of true joys in her life). Nancy inherited the love of wild “ditch” flowers from her mother, and she would share bouquets with friends. You couldn’t talk to Nancy very long without learning about “those three little doggies” that she loved so much and that were so important to her.
Cotton Lake, where she grew up visiting and eventually found a home on, was a place that Nancy loved. She delighted in everything about lake life from water-skiing, swimming, sailing and cruising on boat in the sunshine to, most of all, just being at home with her people.
Nothing made Nancy’s sparkle shine brighter than her son Charlie. She taught him to be kind and to always be a friend to others. She reminded him that if you “always count the robins and not the rats, your world will be a better place.” Nancy’s philosophy of life and sparkle live on in Charlie.
Cancer treatments couldn’t dim Nancy’s sparkle. She gave gifts of her wit and love to each of her caregivers and it was clear that she had made an impact on them when they visited her during her last days to tell her goodbye.
During their time together, Nancy and Mike enjoyed far too few camping trips and far too few motorcycle rides and far too few holidays together. But her sparkle also lives on through him and the families that they shared. Nancy left us all this simple thought: “I love you all. Smile at the good times we had. Be happy and be glad and be good to each other.”
Memorials for Nancy may be sent to the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center (www.lakescrisis.com) or to your favorite pet adoption/animal shelter.