Born as a Minnesota farm boy in 1956, the Hensel family soon relocated from Bremerton, Wash., where he grew up and would enlist in the United States Marine Corps upon graduating high school. Robert served one tour in Vietnam before the end of the war, and would be released shortly after the last soldier was brought home.
After the war Robert returned to Bremerton but his stay would be short-lived, as a persistent call to follow his dreams led him to the mountains of Montana. It was here Robert found his calling. It was here he would be introduced to his lifelong friends and brother-in-arms Jim, Marilyn and Julee Morris. As fellow veterans, the two men swore allegiance to always be there for each other. Marilyn would spend the next 14 years as his personal healthcare provider. A promise that was upheld until Robert was called home.
The two men were inseparable and their love for the outdoors led them to some great adventures. Stories that would be retold and laughed about again and again at each campfire. The mountains resonated with Robert and he often showed his appreciation by breaking out in song. He traveled the back roads of Montana in his 1947 Jeep and called Stillwater County home. He loved the family community of Columbus.
Robert’s love of nature was not something he took lightly, and he would give thanks for the bounty and subsistence frequently. Despite the bond he had with nature, it could never fill the void in the center of his chest. It was in December 2003 he came to terms with the emptiness upon realizing what was missing -- Jesus Christ! And soon after, all the pieces of his life had come together as one. It was his wish that all his friends and loved ones would come to know Christ as he had.
Robert returned to his roots and the religious upbringing he knew as a child. In doing so he found the peace, happiness, truth, joy, forgiveness and love. He found out what it meant to live again. And live he did! From then on, it was his mission to share his love for the outdoors living with the Morris family. And share that same love with as many souls as he could and did so with a smile on his face and joy in his heart.
A memorial service will be held Sept. 12, at the newly scheduled time of 6 p.m. at the Columbus Baptist Church. Sandwiches and salads will follow.