Robert L. Henderson September 30, 2021
Local comedian, historian, teacher, veteran, ski coach, rafting bus driver, friend, husband and father, Robert Leon Henderson, passed away Thursday, September 30, 2021 at the Veterans hospital in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
“Bob”, was born on April 28,1943 in Greenville Maine to Robert John Henderson and the most amazing mother, Hope Sterling Earley. Moose River was his home in his early years and despite a quick moving fire which destroyed Hope and Bobby’s house, he was able to rescue family guns and his mom’s brand- new vacuum cleaner.
After the fire, Bob and Hope moved in next door to his Aunt Ruth and Uncle Ed Reed’s farm where they became a tight-knit family along with his first cousins Sally and Billy. Sally, Billy and Bob were cousins in nature, but brothers and sister by spirit.
After graduating from the University of Maine, and working a year as a teacher in Milo, Bob found his way to Bingham to teach. He was drafted in 1969 and served in Vietnam in the US Army in 1970-71. Upon returning, he met his wife Rose Marie Strumski and started a 30+ year career as a teacher at Upper Kennebec Valley Jr/Sr High School. He was a proud member of the American Legion for many years most recently serving as commander.
As a teacher, Bob inspired thousands of students through intelligence, kindness, and humor. He fancied himself a comedian and often-times, used physical comedy to act out characters in the stories he read with the most notable rendition being “Of Mice and Men”. He naturally transitioned into the role of Lenny. His students to this day mention all of these memorable moments including the way that he would loudly and quickly yell: “AndButOrNorForandSometimesYet” to have the list of Conjunctions burned into his students’ minds.
His absolute love of skiing was apparent, serving as the high school ski team coach and longtime volunteer at his second home, Baker Mountain. He could be found most days in the winter at Baker, assisting with School-On-Skis, running the lift, or socializing in the lodge. “Think Snow” was his common catchphrase and he enjoyed reporting big snow forecasts to his students. As a coach his most important philosophy was to just get kids on the mountain, having fun, with less concern for the results.
As a local historian, Bob spent many days with the Old Canada Road Historical Society. If you had the time, he would gladly explain the history of the region as well as your own individual family lineage. He had a unique ability to remember almost everyone that he met and how they related to others across the region.
He loved meeting new people and would open a conversation with strangers with “Where You From?”. Many times, he’d run into someone new, in another town and quickly figure out how that person is tied to someone from the Upper Kennebec Valley.
Bob genuinely loved everyone that he came met. He believed in second chances and drew love and energy from all his friends and family. He would thank you all for being an important part of his life. He had immense love for his wife, children, and granddaughter. His granddaughter’s mutual love of skiing was very special to him. He was excited to officially welcome new step-grandsons, Matt and Jack, to the family on September 4th, 2021.
Robert Henderson is survived by his 100 year old mother Hope, wife Rose Marie, daughter Karen, son in law Greg, step grand-children Matthew and Jackson, son Jason, granddaughter Grace, special cousin Sally Hughey, and too many cousins, in-laws, step-siblings and friends to name. He was predeceased by his father Robert John Henderson, step-father Archibald “Babe” Earley, cousin Billy Reed, Aunt Ruth, Uncle Ed and Carroll Hughey.
Please join the family for a time of visitation at the Giberson funeral home 18 River Street in Bingham on Friday October 8th from 4-7pm. The service will be at the Upper Kennebec Valley Jr.- Sr. High School on Saturday, October 9th at 11am with a short graveside burial at the Robinson Memorial Cemetery in Moscow, Maine immediately after. The celebration of life will follow at the American Legion Hall at 56 Meadow Street in Bingham with doors open at approximately 1pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Bob Henderson Memorial Fund benefiting Baker Mountain Ski Area at PO Box 43, Bingham, ME 04920 or the Old Canada Road Historical Society at PO Box 742, Bingham, ME 04920. Think Snow!
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Giberson Funeral Home and Cremation Services. To leave a condolence for the family and to view the online obituary, please visit www.gibersonfuneralhome.com
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