Mr. Robert Henderson, age 93, of Dothan, Alabama passed away Monday, February 1, 2021.
Drive through visitation will be Thursday, February 4, 2021 from 3 PM to 5 PM at the funeral home.
Funeral service will be held on Friday, February 5, 2021 at 11 AM at Georgette L. Scott Memorial Chapel, 814 Headland Avenue Dothan, Alabama 36303.
Burial will immediately follow the service at Gates of Heaven Cemetery.
Robert Tip Henderson
Storyteller + Father + Historian + Friend
The 1920s was a decade of incredible change in the United States of America. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded and would present its first Oscars two years later. The first transatlantic telephone call was made from New York City to London. As more and more people owned cars, radios, and telephones for the first time, Americans felt a new sense of connectedness and community. And three 1927 births proved to be life changing: Members of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Radio Engineers saw the first live demonstration of the television; civil rights activist Coretta Scott King was born; and Tom and Rosa Anna Henderson welcomed a son to the world on December 7. They named him Robert, the most popular name for boys born that year.
It was not long before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 began The Great Depression which led to a world-wide economic crisis that lasted well into the 1930s. Surviving this time on a farm gifted young Robert with skills and traits that would serve him well as he lived with purpose. A student of life, he was formally educated in Henry County Schools and had fond memories of attending Carver High School where Professor Paton was the principal. He was responsible and consistently held himself to a higher standard of personal responsibility, even as a child. He left school to help support his ten siblings and parents. He eventually returned to complete his high school equivalency requirements. A seeker of truth and wisdom, he confessed Christ at an early age and joined Oakey Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church in Haleburg, Alabama.
He enlisted in the United States Army in 1952 and earned the rank of staff sergeant in a record 2.5 years. During his tenure in the Army, he honed his culinary skills attending cooking and baking school and he served as a shift supervisor. As a noncommissioned officer, he commanded a squad of soldiers and was responsible for “developing, maintaining, and utilizing the full range of his soldiers’ potential.” His service to our nation fueled his entrepreneurial spirit. He was honorably discharged in 1957.
He was well-regarded for his ability to work with people of all backgrounds. He has the distinction of being the first Black salesperson for Better Brand Company. What he did for their company, soon he refined and put to use with his own endeavors. In 1956, he met and married the former Juanita Helmes. Together they owned and operated several businesses: Henderson Sandwich Shop, Vogue Beauty Salon, and Henderson Cab Company (later AAA Cab Company). For a quarter of a century as a taxi cab driver, he treated each passenger as a family member. He was informative, kind, understanding, and compassionate. No matter the day or the hour, he was always ready with a great story with a message.
When he relocated his family to Dothan, Alabama, he united with North Highland Baptist Church. He gave his time and talents as a member of the Usher Board, the Trustee Board, the Deacon Board, and the Finance Committee. Before growing his family, he extended loving kindness to his nephew, Eugene Henderson, and his nieces, Linda Phillips and Rose Blount. He and his wife welcomed their beautifully intelligent daughter, Maranda, into their lives in 1976. She was a welcomed complement to his son, James.
Later he became a member of New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church where he served faithfully as a deacon, trustee, and usher. Each week he could be found leading devotion, supporting prayer breakfast, or attending Sunday School or a Culinary Committee meeting, all with a deeply infectious smile and welcoming spirit.
His servant leadership was legendary. He was a life member of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #87, Wiregrass Elks #810, Alabama Democratic Committee, member of One Church – One Child Adopting Board, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
He was a man of integrity. His words were true; he meant what he said and said what he meant. When his beloved Juanita was stricken with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease he committed to what would be his greatest labor of love: the compassionate care of his wife of 35 years. He stayed the course and lived the meaning of his vows “in sickness and in health” until her death on February 2, 1991. His love was abundant and when he met Winnie Pearl Culver, he found in her a love unfailing. They united in holy matrimony on June 9, 1995.
Robert Tip Henderson was blessed with longevity as the family patriarch. He was cousin, uncle, father, grandfather, and kinfolk to many regardless of bloodlines and genetics. He was inspirational and encouraging. He was optimistic and enthusiastic, always maintaining a positive outlook on life. On February 1, 2021, while at home with his wife of 25 years, he transitioned from this life to eternal rest.
His memory will be cherished by his wife, Winnie Pearl Henderson; his children James Weems and Dr. Maranda Henderson Griffin; his son-in-law, Eugene Griffin Jr.; and his beloved niece, Irish Henderson Edwards, who was very much a daughter in his life. His legacy will be sustained by his grandchildren, Elijah Weems, Kenneth Brown III, and London Griffin. Others who count it a blessing to have known him are his cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family members, and countless friends. His timeless stories, invaluable lessons, and wisdom will remain in our hearts and minds forever.
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