John R. Henderson Jr., was born to the late John R. Henderson, Sr., and Olymphia (Smith) Henderson on June 15, 1921 in Wichita, Kansas.
He attended Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School in Wichita, Kansas. John served in the United States Army from 1943-46. Upon being honorably discharged from the US Army, he returned to his hometown of Wichita and enrolled at Friends University; a Quaker school where in 1948 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English; John also married Gloria E. (Thomas) Henderson this year in Wichita, Kansas.
He then attended Kansas State University School of Architecture where he received a Bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1952.
John applied for planning positions at the planning departments of several cities in Ohio. Some cities requested photos of the applicants and when they saw that he was Black, he was turned down. John continued to apply at other sites and was eventually hired at Youngstown, Ohio as a junior city planner. There were some subtle racial reminders that came up again however when he was not allowed to eat at certain restaurants when he worked in architect offices in Akron, Ohio.
John and Gloria moved to Denver, Colorado with their son, Lynn B. Henderson in 1959. He worked for the architecture firm of Fisher, Davis and Sudler when they were designing the federal office building and courthouse between 19th and 20th Streets and Stout in downtown Denver. He also helped design other buildings including the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Botanic Gardens. John worked at the Bureau of Indian Affairs until his retirement in 1981. He ran a small business, the African and American Trading Company, LTD on a part-time basis.
John and his lovely wife, Gloria traveled internationally to places such as South Africa, Paris, Hong Kong and Japan, and went on several jazz cruises.
He was an active parishioner of St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church for 57 years. John was the head usher at the 10:00 a.m. Mass where he welcomed all parishioners especially visitors with a warm smile and also took the time to get to know them.
He is survived by his son, Lynn B. Henderson of Denver, CO; sister, Ruth H. Adams of Marietta, GA; brother, Kenneth S. (Gwendolyn) Henderson of Petersburg, VA; sister-in-law, Glynne (Paul) Gervais of Old Park, IL; nephews, Charles (Gwen) Allen, Jr., Michael T. (Alice) Allen, Marlon (Kim Marie) Allen and Ronald (Terri) Stevens of New Orleans, LA; nieces, Patricia Adams of Marietta, GA; Katrina, Kerry and Kacey Henderson of Petersburg, VA; nieces-in-law, Gladys Smith Allen and Gloria (James) Stevens-Allen of New Orleans, LA; church niece, Angela T. Anderson, MD of New York, NY/Philadelphia, PA; and a host of great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins and friends.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Gloria E. Henderson and parents, John R. Henderson, Sr. and Olymphia (Smith Henderson) Jones; brothers-in-law, Gerald Thomas, Jr. and Joseph Thomas; sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Allen, Geraldine Stevens, and Judy Barrett.
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