It is with a deep sense of sadness that the family of William Joseph Henderson, age 85, announce his quiet passing at home in Prescott, Arizona surrounded by his family. “Bill,” as he was affectionately known by friends and family, was born in Pasadena, California the son of Ernest and Dorothy [Kramer] Henderson.
Growing up, his parents and older sister, Jean, always called him “Billy Joe” and his boyhood was one of fun and typical adolescent mischief. In 1951, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was stationed in Germany, working with the Army’s K-9 unit. During his service with the unit, he trained more than 100 dogs. While in Germany, he had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and Egypt.
Upon his return to civilian life, Bill worked with a grocery supply company until the late 1960s. He became partners in 1968 with his long-time friends Charles “Chuck” and Virginia “Gini” Pearson to create Rimcrest, a mobile home and trailer park in Show Low, Arizona. While in Show Low, Bill also worked in the plumbing section of Murphy’s hardware store.
In April 1983, Bill married Gini Pearson, and became an instant stepfather, grandfather and uncle. As he was already a long-time friend of the family, his title may have changed but his love for us and ours for him stayed the same. Gini passed away in 2003. In 2015 on Valentine’s Day, Bill married Shirley Rowell and expanded his family to include two more stepchildren. Bill always said he was blessed and lucky to have loved two such wonderful women in his lifetime.
Always involved in his community, Bill was well-liked and admired. In the 1960s, he was President of the Vista Palomar Riders, an equestrian group and, in the 1970s, the President of the Show Low Lions Club. Bill also volunteered on the Porter Mountain Antenna Association which provided television broadcasting services to many homes, and served as 1st and 2nd Reader for the Society of Christian Science. Moving to Prescott in 1997, Bill volunteered for the Pine Lakes Homeowners Association and many times was up early working in the kitchen for the Association’s pancake breakfasts and other social mixers.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, sister Jean Cook, his stepdaughter Laura Lee Pettit, and his step-grandson Curtis Dawson. Bill will be lovingly remembered by his wife Shirley, his stepson John (Becky) Pearson, stepdaughter Hazel (Howard) Bowman, stepson Pete (Pat) Riley, stepson Brian Rowell, stepdaughter Jan Rowell, grandchildren Debra (Rob) Vieira, Michael Pearson, Cathy (Shane) Chlarson, Jeanette Pettit, Richard Pettit, Virginia (Ty) Riley-Hayden, Mike (Heather) Riley, and several great-grandchildren and great-nephews and great-nieces. To all those who love and remember Bill, we were the lucky ones to know such a gentle and caring soul.
A Celebration of Life service will be at 10:00 am, Saturday July 6 at the Center for Spiritual Living on 3755 Willow Creek Road in Prescott. Thank you to all the staff at Heritage Memory Mortuary for their care and assistance with funeral arrangements and to Kindred Hospice for their care during Bill’s transition. Memorial donations may be sent to the charity of your choice.
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