John Raymond Henderson, 88, died Oct. 18, 2012. He was a 56-year resident of Napa, where he resided upon his death.
John was born June 24, 1924, to Raymond and Betty Henderson of San Francisco. His parents separated during his early life and he was raised by his mother, grandmother, and two aunts. He attended San Francisco public schools, including Sanchez Elementary School and Mission High School, graduating in June 1942.
He entered the University of San Francisco in the fall of 1942, but withdrew in the spring semester to enlist in the U.S. Army. He was a member of the 96th Infantry Division and participated in the battles of Leyte Island in the Philippines in October of 1944, and in Okinawa in April 1945. In May of 1945, he sustained a shrapnel wound to his left leg, which earned him the Purple Heart. Because of the horror of combat, it produced an enduring anti-war attitude throughout the remainder of his life.
John returned from military service and enrolled at the University of San Francisco. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history in June of 1949. Shortly thereafter, he married Phyllis Bannatyne. They moved to Napa in 1950, and John began a career as an educator. Initially, he was a history teacher for Napa secondary schools and then later an instructor of psychology for Napa Valley College. He earned a master’s degree in psychology and pupil personnel services from San Francisco State University in 1955.
John and Phyllis conceived three children: Elliot, Janet and Thomas. Tragically, Phyllis was stricken with multiple sclerosis and died in 1963. John remarried to Juel Noe in 1964, and they enjoyed a 48-year marriage until her death earlier this year. As an added blessing of his marriage to Juel, he adopted her daughters, Debra and Dorothy, and conceived a son, Craig, in August of 1969.
As a father, he emphasized characteristics of integrity and self and social responsibility. He was not particularly concerned with monetary gain, or acquiring social status. As an educator, John contributed 26 years of service to Napa Valley College. He was an instructor of psychology, a guidance counselor, and administered the Napa State Hospital/community college internship program and the public speakership program. John was also professionally active in the Napa community.
In the 1970s, he was instrumental in creating rehabilitative services for the Napa County Superior Court program for DUI offenders. In the 1980s, he headed the Napa County task force on self-esteem and social responsibility. In the 2000s, he provided mental health services to youthful offenders for the CASA Program. For over 30 years, he was a member of Our Family, a Napa State Hospital alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. He was on the board of directors from 1978 to 2001. As his professional activities reflect, he valued service to individuals, to the community, and demonstrating social responsibility.
John is survived by his sons, Elliot and his wife Francene, Thomas, Craig and his wife Karen; daughters, Janet and her husband Michael Verlander, and Debra and her husband Armando Casanova; granddaughters, Rachel and her husband Martin Bonfilio, Leah, and Kenna; and grandson, Aidan. He was predeceased by his first wife, Phyllis, in 1963; his second wife, Juel, on Aug. 26, 2012; and daughter, Dorothy, on March 27, 2010.
A memorial service will be held on Nov. 18 in the Tulocay Chapel at 2 p.m. The memorial service will be a combined service for his wife, Juel, and himself. A gathering following the service will be held in the Tulocay Reception Center. Memories and words of sympathy may be sent to the family online at TulocayCemetery.org.