Obituary of Leonard Andrew Henderson
Leonard Henderson, 99, of Sterling, Colorado, went to be with his Lord & reunited with the love of his life, Virginia, on January 24, 2023, from Greeley, Colorado.
Leonard was born in Ordway, Colorado, to Russell & Mary (Hooper) Henderson on January 13, 1924. Leonard married the love of his life, Virginia (King) Henderson on June 6, 1943 in the Las Animas Church of the Nazarene in Las Animas, Colorado. The had a double wedding with Virginia’s sister Marilyn and her husband Merlin Keys.
Leonard’s story is one of Love. The Greek language has many different words for love and Leonard exhibited many of them. Those that had the honor to know Leonard would have known Leonard’s love.
Leonard and his family lived in several towns in southern Colorado along Highway 50. While living in Canyon City, Leonard met his future wife Virginia for the first time at the Pilgrim Holiness Church in Canyon City. Virginia knew from the first meeting that she had met her future husband and soul mate. On the way home from church that day she told her sister that she was going to “marry that boy”.
At age 16 Leonard started going to the Pilgrim Holiness Bible Training School in Colorado Springs. While attending High School Leonard found his love for painting. He continued to paint into the later years of his life. The Henderson house and extended family have all been blessed with his creations. Leonard was a talented artist and that eventually led him into a career in arts and crafts.
Life was not easy for Leonard. His family struggled with many hardships. Circumstances required Leonard to spend a lot of his childhood with his Grandparents. Even through these trials and tribulations Leonard always found a way to prosper. He had a strong work ethic and a charming disposition. People were drawn to Leonard.
When in High School he didn’t have enough money to pay tuition. One time when Leonard couldn’t meet his school financial responsibilities Virginia’s father provided a bunch of cabbage and the ladies in the Canyon Church made sauerkraut which was trade for his tuition. God often used the unexpected to bless his life.
Leonard had many loves in his 99 years on this earth. One love that continued to the very end was that of chocolate pudding. He so enjoyed this dark chocolate creation, that while he was in school he would often trade his entire lunch with the other students for as many chocolate puddings as he could get.
While chocolate pudding is definitely noteworthy, Leonard’s love for Virginia was one for the ages. While Virginia knew right away that she was going to marry Leonard, the actual ceremony didn’t happen for another 3 years. Their love expanded a couple years later when they had they had twin girls. Marilyn and Carolyn where the first additions to the Henderson family. A couple of years later Sandra was born followed by (Leonard) Allen. The Henderson family was full of love and life.
In 1992 Virginia had a major stroke. The stroke paralyzed her entire right side and limited/diminished many of the things that Virginia was capable of doing. Leonard would get both of them up and ready every day. Often going to McDonald’s for a coffee and a drive in the mountains. They attended Loveland Church of the Nazarene and were there almost every Sunday. Even though most activities were a struggle Leonard insisted that they continued to live and enjoy life. One day they were in a Wendy’s in Colorado Springs eating a meal. Leonard was feeding Virginia and taking care of her. Unbeknownst to them, there was a young military couple that was witnessing a display of love that is not often seen. At this point they had been married for at least 55 years and things were not easy for them, but they didn’t let difficulties stop them from enjoying each other’s company. A young couple at the beginning of their journey together got to see how amazing a relationship that lasted could be (and witnessed what unfailing, unconditional love looks like). The young man was so moved by the obvious love that was on display, that he wrote a note of admiration on a napkin and gave it to them. Leonard was her caregiver until her passing in 2004.
Leonard worked in many different jobs which include: milkman for Fairmont in Las Animas, Insurance Salesman for Prudential in Las Animas, 11 more years as a milkman for Sinton Dairy in Colorado Springs, as an Arts and Crafts salesman. Leonard and Virginia owned a motel in Parson’s, KS for three years. When Leonard and Virginia sold the motel they moved back to Colorado and opened a craft store, called Lhen Craft in Loveland. While Leonard really enjoyed working with crafts they often struggled to do business against large craft companies like Michael’s and Benjamin Franklin’s. One day Leonard was purchasing supplies at a wholesaler’s store and he made a suggestion about how to improve sales on an item. The store was so impressed that they ended up hiring him as a sales person. Leonard started selling crafting supplies in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Nebraska. He even sold to the Cabela brothers while they were still working from their garage. Leonard was in his element coming up with new ways to use the crafting supplies. His artistic style was a great asset and he really enjoyed this job. One added perk was that he was able to bring a fishing pole on the road with him. Many lunch breaks and evenings were spent at the edge of a stream or lake looking for trout.
Leonard was an avid fisherman. Early in their marriage, Leonard and Virginia went fishing in Caddoa dam lake. Virginia caught one of the largest fish that has ever been caught out of that lake. Leonard was so proud that they took the fish straight to the newspaper and had them put a story in the paper. Virginia, who had never fished before, was “hooked”. Leonard and Virginia spent a lot of time with their family fishing, camping and enjoying time together. He especially enjoyed times in the boat with many children and grandchildren teaching them how to catch trout. Leonard’s children and grandchildren all have fond memories of fishing with him.
Leonard loved to tell stories, and he had some great stories to tell. It didn’t hurt that grandfather had lived an extremely interesting life-including working on the Pikes Peak Cogway and being in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Leonard spent many years with his grandfather and one can only imagine how this time together helped to shape this gift of storytelling into something special. His ability to tell a tale never diminished. When Leonard started retelling a story it was like an imaginary campfire was ablaze in the room and everyone’s attention was fixed on each word he uttered. Some of his stories were bigger than life. Most of them were true. Leonard was a historian and could recall many interesting facts about places he had visited. Even recently he was sharing stories with his grandkids. He also delighted the staff and Hospice nurses at Brookdale with his stories. With much foresight, Leonard started recording his stories in notebooks. There are more than 20 of these notebooks that include stories and pictures. If a picture didn’t exist then Leonard would often draw a picture to go with the story.
Leonard loved many things in life. He loved chocolate pudding, fishing, story telling, and his family. He loved his wife Virginia. Even more than all of these things he loved Jesus. Not only did Leonard love Jesus, he wanted others to know that Jesus loved them. It was very important to Leonard that his family knew that Jesus wants a personal relationship with each and everyone of them. Leonard loved in many ways. His love was often displayed in the way he lived is life. In the end Leonard was human and his love was not perfect, but God’s love is. In his last hours, Leonard was thanking God. After 99 years on this earth Leonard is now in the presence of God. The pain and suffering of this world is gone. This is not a goodbye; it is an until we meet again.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 8, 13 (NIV)
 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Leonard is survived by his children, Marilyn (Edward) Theleman, Carolyn (Larry) Rutledge, Sandra (Stanley) Hicks, L. Allen (Linda) Henderson; 11 grandchildren, Mike (Danae) Theleman, Michelle (Thane) Woods, Melissa (Ian) Mitchell, Barbara Holsapfel, Carrie (Greg) Zimmerman, Cathy Castillo, Matthew (Kendra) Hicks, Joy (Tom) Battistone, Mark (Jessica) Hicks, Jennifer (Mike) Fyola, and Steven Campbell; 35 great-grandchildren; estranged wife, Judith Henderson; and a large loving extended family.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Virginia; his parents Mary and Russell Henderson; brother, Carroll Henderson; step-grandson, Mike Campbell; son-in-law Stanly Hicks; daughter-in-law Linda Campbell.
A Celebration of Life will be held in the Summer of 2023.
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