Dennis “Hendo” Henderson passed away knowing his family was by his side on February 6, 2017, at his home in Butte, Montana. He fought a long, hard battle with lung cancer and showed so much courage to protect his family. Hendo was born on December 4, 1945, in Redwood City, California and moved Butte, Montana as a young boy.
Hendo attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School before making his way to Butte High School where he was a proud member of the football and wrestling teams. He was inducted as a “Golden B” in 2014. Subsequent to his formal education, Hendo joined the United States Army as a Military Police Officer, K-9 Unit, 1st Cavalry Division Vietnam, from 1964-1966 and continued his service at home by joining the Army National Guard from 1966-1968.
Dennis worked just about every job you could imagine before he became the owner of his first business, the A-1 Ambulance from 1972-1982. Hendo always wanted to keep things fresh, so he purchased P.J. (Phil Judd’s) Sports in 1982 and after 10 years began a new adventure when he became the owner of the Winter Garden Bowling Center from 1993-2005. Following his career as a business owner, Hendo became a bus driver for Butte School District #1. One of his greatest accomplishments was being elected to Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners for District #5 in 2010. Hendo held this seat until his passing. He had a strong Union Affiliation through Teamsters, Operating Engineers, and Labors.
Throughout his life, Hendo was very involved in his community. He was a past board member of the Directors of Montana Ambulance Association, Butte-Silver Bow Fire Commission, Butte-Silver Bow Emergency Medical Services, School District #1 for 4 years (one year Chairman, one year Vice Chairman), Silver Bow Wrestling Association, Butte Bowling Association, past member of the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce and the American Legion, past President of the Silver Bow Kiwanis Club, and was a past Assistant State Commissioner of Babe Ruth Baseball.
Hendo enjoyed all sports and was particularly fond of his beloved Dallas Cowboys. Dennis really loved to coach and watch his children and grandchildren play sports. Hendo never missed a game. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. Dennis spent quality time teaching his family everything he knew about the outdoors. He spent some of his happiest moments with his family camping, chasing elk and fishing at Clark Canyon and Canyon Ferry.
Dennis married his best friend and love of his life Diane (Nerbonne) Henderson on May 19, 1967. They would have celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. The love they shared will live on in their hearts forever. Hendo was often heard telling his wife, “I love you to the moon and back, Baby!” This union produced two children, Marty and Dana. Hendo had so much pride for his kids and they were his life. He would do anything for them and raised them to work hard and to be kind to everyone they meet. He was always there for them to offer support, guidance, wisdom and most importantly his love. Dennis was so proud of the wonderful people his children had become. Dennis loved his daughter-in-law Kathy (Schmalz) Henderson very much and was so proud of his son for picking “a good one.” Then came the next round of joy that was brought into Hendo’s life, his “favorite” grandson, Kade, and “favorite” granddaughter, Haley. He loved to brag about their academic, athletic and employment accomplishments and spoiled them rotten because he felt they deserved it. Hendo became very fond of his granddaughter-in-law Alex (Shevalier) Henderson, with whom he shared a special bond. Hendo taught his grandkids so much and was their biggest fan. They are so thankful to have gotten to spend over 20 years having known such a wonderful guy. In 2016, Hendo was blessed with his great-grandson, Clyde “Clyde Mikes” “Big Boy” Henderson. Hendo always said that his kids and grandkids were great, but, “there is something special about that boy.” His family will never forget their unending games of “peek-a-boo!”
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Dana, brothers Tom and Larry Henderson, his “special” mother-in-law, Shirley Nerbonne, father-in-law, Clyde Nerbonne, brother-in-law and friend, George Nerbonne, and his mother and step-father, Marie and Jack Barsanti.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Diane; son, Marty and daughter-in-law, Kathy Henderson; grandson Kade Henderson and granddaughter-in-law, Alex and great grandson Clyde Henderson; granddaughter, Haley Henderson; sister, Darlene O’Rourke and family; brother, Gino Barsanti; brother, Bill and Judy Henderson and family; sister-in-law, Nancy Henderson and family.
Hendo will be greatly missed by his family and many friends within the Butte community. Please come celebrate his life at St. Ann’s Church. Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, February 11, 2017, and mass to follow at 11:00 a.m. There will be a reception following the service at the McQueen Athletic Club. Memorials may be sent to Easter Seals Highlands Hospice for the special care given to Dennis.
God truly broke the mold when he made you grandpa. You pushed us to exceed our limits through your words of wisdom, jokes, and stories. It was a good ride. Rest in peace Hendo.