Jerry Henderson, lifelong educator and coach for the Renton School District, passed away Thursday, August 24 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington, after suffering a stroke eight days earlier. His wife, Verl, was by his side.
Jerry was born October 22, 1929, to Dale Henderson and Catherine (Westervelt) Henderson in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He graduated from Scottsbluff High School with the Class of 1948 before attending Nebraska University in Lincoln, where he played football, and then enlisting in the US Navy to serve as a teletype operator on the battleship Arnold J. Isbell, for a four-year tour of duty, then returning to Scottsbluff Junior College where he was an All Conference Athlete for two years running. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Education at the University of Northern Colorado, followed by a Master’s degree from Washington State University.
Within the Renton School District, Jerry taught and coached at Nelson Middle School as well as Renton, Hazen and Lindbergh High Schools. Over the course of his career, Jerry acquired legions of friends among both the teaching and coaching staffs and student bodies. As a coach, he honed the skills of athletes in football, wrestling, boys and girls basketball, baseball and track.
Also an active athlete outside of the schools, Jerry was an avid skier, working many seasons for the Crystal Mountain Ski Patrol, where his competitive spirit found a place in the annual toboggan races. A runner since his teen years, Jerry competed in many races around the Northwest, including the annual Bloomsday Run in Spokane. Jerry was a huge college football fan, and, as a Nebraska native, considered himself to be a full-blooded Cornhusker.
Soon after retirement, Jerry and his wife Verl moved to Cle Elum in their dream home among the trees up a remote logging road, and once the winters became too much, moved again to a new home in Graham, Washington. Jerry made new friends wherever he lived, and was always a popular member of his communities. Jerry and his wife Verl enjoyed annual trips to Penticton, BC, with friends as well as to Reno, Nevada, and with a select group of elite golfers, yearly summer junkets to Alta Lake. Jerry was predeceased by his parents, (Henry) Dale Henderson and Catherine (Westervelt) Henderson, and his step- mother Betty Henderson. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Verl Henderson, his sister Sandy Cook of Kearney, NE, his sons Kevin (Linda), Randy (Traci) and Brian, and grandchildren Theo, Rachael and Ben, all of Seattle, Washington.
A celebration honoring Jerry’s life is being planned for October 22, 2023, 1pm to 4pm at El Metropolitan Banquet Hall in Renton, Washington.