Martha Ernestine Hankla Henry | Roswell Daily Record
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Martha Ernestine Hankla Henry died on January 24, 2022 in Nacogdoches, Texas at the age of 104.
Ernestine was one of four children born to Samuel Flournoy and Elma (Smith) Hankla in Geneva, near McMahon Chapel, on October 10, 1917, in Sabine County, Texas, on land owned by the Republic of Texas. . Ernestine attended school in Geneva and later graduated from Lycée de Beaumont. She married Elvie Denton (ED) Henry in 1935 and lived in Corpus Christi where she became a building contractor and ED managed shipbuilding for World War II efforts. They then moved to Houston and pursued a real estate development business. After the birth of two daughters, Kay Ann and Georgia Carol, the family moved to San Augustine, Texas, embracing their roots in East Texas operating cotton gins and raising cattle.
Passionate about education, Ernestine was a lifelong learner and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State College. She continued her doctoral studies at the University of Houston and Baylor University.
She enjoyed her many years as a teacher in San Augustine and truly enjoyed her position as Dean of Women at the SFA where she served for 26 years, from 1959 to 1985. As the only woman on the executive committee of the SFA for much of this time has encouraged and supported hundreds of women as they developed their education, social life, family and career. His pleasure was to see young people succeed. She has truly enriched the lives of many SFA students. Ernestine was voted favorite trustee by the SFA student senate and brought four national sororities to the SFA. She later personally encouraged Tri Delta to visit the SFA campus and they became the 5th national sorority. One of his favorite memories is when alumni advocate Ron Atkinson dedicated Alumni Drive on the SFA campus to become Ernestine Henry Drive in 2000.
Ernestine was a member and leader of numerous national, state, and local organizations involved in education. She was a founding member of the Nacogdoches Pilot Club and always treasured her friendships with her pilot sisters. Ernestine was proud of her family and her East Texas heritage. She was a founding member of the San Augustine Chapter of the Daughters of the Texas Republic and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was a long-time supporter of the Old Nacogdoches University building and considered it the “jewel” of Nacogdoches historical sites. Ernestine had such appreciation for the Federation of Women’s Clubs who are entrusted with the preservation of the building and museum for the benefit of her community.
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In the late 70’s Ernestine took up oil painting and it became a lifelong passion with her dear friend and instructor, Karen LoStracco. She has traveled all over the world to visit other cultures and to study the most beautiful museums in the world. She was always proud to offer her paintings to her family, special friends and various fundraisers around Nacogdoches.
Ernestine was a storyteller with an incredible memory. Always creative and curious, she subscribed to dozens of magazines to follow stock market, political, historical, culinary, craft, architectural and entertainment news. It was rare that a friend could share local or global news that she hadn’t already found on her iPad. Ernestine had a unique way of making the most distant world events connected to the East Texas community.
She is predeceased by her parents, husband and siblings, Randolph Hankla, Jim Hankla and Florine Hankla Ramsey. Also, son-in-law Major General Michal Butchko (USAF).
Ernestine is survived by her two daughters, Kay Henry Butchko of Nacogdoches and Georgia Henry Darnell, and her husband Kirby, formerly of Henderson, Texas and now Roswell, New Mexico. She is survived by her beloved grandchildren and their families, Benjamin Michael Butchko, his wife Kirsten and his children Jay Yeats and Elizabeth Ann Butchko of Houston; Kathryn Butchko Pelka, husband Jay and daughter Katelyn Mayor of Oldsmar, Florida; Adriann Darnell Ragsdale, her husband Luke and daughter Alexandra of Roswell; and by several nieces and nephews.
In keeping with her love of education and learning, Ernestine chose to put her body to work for the advancement of science. A private family memorial will be held at a later date. For those wishing to offer a memorial in her honor, she would greatly appreciate any donations made to the Old University Building Renovation Project. Federation of Women’s Clubs, PO Box 633113, Nacogdoches, TX 75963, a 501(c)(3) organization.