Inez Henrietta Stenbak was born in Tioga, North Dakota on August 8, 1924 to Henry and Inga Hilleren at her family home. She passed away on November 21, 2018 at the age of 94 at the Long Term Care facility in Tioga.
Inez was raised and educated in Tioga, graduating from high school in May 1942. Knowing she would need an education to get a good job she attended the Modern Day Business College in Missoula, MT (1942-1943). While there, US Army personnel came to actively recruit civilian contractors to assist in the war effort. Upon completion of her studies, at the age of twenty, Inez felt compelled to answer the call to serve her country and traveled by train to Seattle, WA where she worked for the US Army Port of Embarkation – one of the army’s busiest terminals for moving troops and supplies during WWII. Movement taking place at the port was kept secret as well as all the information that passed across her desk. Thus, she immediately became part of a tight knit community of individuals that worked together and played together, enjoying ice skating and skiing in the mountains. Inez also worked for the Auburn (WA) General Depot run by the US Air Force. Her time in Seattle was a great adventure – she endured a major earthquake, explored new territories and made life-long friendships. Up until her passing, Inez rarely failed to bring up those hard-working yet exciting days when visiting with her. Inez, being skilled in her profession, later held positions at Garrison Dam, Corp of Engineers at Minot Air Force Base, Dept. of Agriculture in Stanley, ND, Farmers Union Oil Company and the Signal Plant in Tioga.
Inez married Gerald R. Stenbak on September 22, 1962 living in Minot for a short time before moving back to Tioga where they had farming interests in both Williams and Mountrail Counties. Their love for flowers and beautiful landscaping was evident in their home in Tioga with her prized flower being the tuberous begonia of which she won many ribbons at state and local fairs. Inez credited her knowledge of begonias to her mother Inga.
She served as treasurer for both Zion Lutheran Church and the Ladies Aid, taught Bible School, was a member of the Ray Garden Club and Tioga Senior Citizen Club. Rarely did Inez go anywhere without a camera taking numerous photographs and keeping up religiously with her scrapbooks of photos and correspondence. Inez and Gerry always enjoyed traveling together whether it be a grand trip to Anchorage, Alaska or a scenic drive to a nearby town for lunch.
Inez was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, John M. Hilleren and her husband Gerry. She was a loving, faithful companion to Gerry even after he suffered a major stroke and became a resident at Tioga Medical Center before his passing in January 2003.
Inez is survived by several nieces and nephews; her trusted confidant and nephew, Mark Hilleren of Watford City, ND; Sandra Hilleren Towers of Nashville, TN; Lana Herreid Ensrud of Brooklyn Park, MN; Glenn Herreid of Hiawassee, GA and Linda Reed of Christiansburg, VA.
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