He was active and independent, even while battling Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia for many years. At home with Hospice support from July 3, he spent his final days surrounded by family, both in person and on video calls, sitting outside on the porch and enjoying his yard and neighborhood. Although he experienced some delirium during his illness, he was still smart, strong-willed and funny, yet calm and content to the end of his life. His strength and presence will be sorely missed.
Gerald was born Oct. 29, 1940, on a farm in Prattville, Ala., the middle of three sons of Sara (Dillard) Henderson and William (Earl) Henderson. Family lore held that Gerald could pick 200 pounds of cotton every day, more than either of his brothers.
He was an athlete and student leader at Autauga County High School, playing basketball and baseball and serving as president of his senior class.
During his last year of college at the University of Alabama, Gerald married Mary E. Hull (Pat) of Autaugaville, Ala., on Feb. 1, 1963. They met several years earlier at the Prattville grocery store where Sara Henderson was happy to introduce the lovely “Patsy” to her hard-working son.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in accounting, Gerald was chosen by Standard Oil Co. as Alabama’s “high-caliber college graduate” to work in the Birmingham office. Throughout his career, Gerald was offered roles of increasing responsibility in finance and Information Technology in Kentucky (KYSO), New Jersey (Chevron East 1974) and California (CUSA Consolidation 1977).
Along the way, Gerald and Pat added two daughters to their family, Tracy Elizabeth (born in Birmingham) and Patricia Eve (born in Louisville). Gerald remarked in a company announcement that his children would benefit from the education and experience of living in other states.
Working at Chevron in finance and IT roles, Patricia often heard positive commentary about colleagues’ experience with Gerald. As part of the Chevron IT leadership team, Gerald managed the computer networking group of 300 employees across the enterprise. After 32 years with Chevron, Gerald retired in 1995.
In retirement, he sold his boat and fishing gear and became an avid Senior Softball player and manager, playing on multiple teams concurrently. Gerald’s last team was an “Over 75” tournament team, which he helped lead to several championships. He and Pat also enjoyed designing and building several new homes over the years.
Gerald and Pat cared for their three grandchildren part-time for many years and regularly transported the grandkids to their sports and other activities, especially softball, baseball and basketball.
Gerald is survived by his wife of 60 years, Pat Henderson; daughters, Tracy Graff and Patricia King; sons-in-law, Doug Graff and Kenneth King; and three precious grandchildren, Makenzie and Sydnie King, and Grayson Graff.
Gerald’s two brothers and sisters-in-law also survive him, Dr. Ronald and Beth Henderson and Thomas and Barbara Henderson; as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews. Also surviving Gerald are four of Pat’s sisters, who loved Gerald like a brother, Virginia (Bobbie) Pedigo, Doris Little, Beverly DeFee and Faye Green (husband Al), and many extended Hull family.
The family held a Remembrance Service on Aug. 12 at Gatetree Church in Danville. Following the service, there was reception to continue celebrating Gerald’s impactful life.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to your favorite charity, veterans’ organization or Hospice East Bay, which was so helpful to the family during Gerald’s last days.