William (Bill) Rufus Henderson, 90, a man who lived his life to the glory of God, passed away at the VA Hospital in Durham, NC, on September 13, 2013. Born in 1922, in Kannapolis, NC to Marion Charles and Ollie Maude Henderson, Bill, as the son of a Methodist minister, spent much of his childhood in various North Carolina towns served by his father.
He graduated from High Point College in 1943, returning to his alma mater to serve on the Board of Trustees until his death. He attended Duke University for his MBA, served on the Divinity Board and became a lifelong Dukie.
With the start of World War II, Bill enlisted in the US Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theatre, rising to the rank of First Lieutenant. He fought in the Battle for Iwo Jima, where he was the operations officer for the 28th Regiment and was awarded the Bronze Star. At war's end he left active duty but served 15 years in the Marine Corps Reserves, retiring as a Lt. Colonel.
Returning to North Carolina, Bill began numerous businesses in Reidsville and Burlington before he served as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce. From Raleigh, Bill purchased Bennett Advertising in High Point, then moved to Wilmington as President of the Cape Fear Corporation, the group that began the development of Bald Head Island. The residential development business brought Bill back to the Triangle area and he finished his career helping to pioneer the tremendous growth there for the next 35 years.
Bill served many civic and church organizations that included President of the NC Jaycees, Lay leader of the Western NC Conference of the United Methodist Church and was the initial Chairman of the NC Zoological Society, seeing the dream of a North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro fulfilled. He was an active member of Raleigh First Assembly.
On March 15, 1947, Bill made the second most important decision of his life, marrying Dorothy Lee Saunders and sharing life with "Dot" for 64 years. He was preceded in death by his wife and his brother Marion Charles.
Surviving are his sister, Ruth Price; daughter Faithe and husband Michael Giaquinto; son, William R. "Chip" Henderson, Jr. and wife Cindy; 10 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren; brother and sister in law, Jimmy and Wilma Jones and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation at Brown Wynne Funeral Home at 300 St Mary's St, Raleigh, NC from 3:00-5:00, September 15, 2013. Bill's homecoming service will be held at Raleigh First Assembly, 3249 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh on Monday, September 16 at 1:00 PM. Interment will follow at Raleigh Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Converting Hearts Ministries, PO Box 90818, Raleigh, 27675 and BeALL For Christ, Youth Scholarship Fund, 6912 Glendower Rd., Raleigh, 27613.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16