Robert Henshaw Obituary
Bobby - December 4, 1934 Bobby - Christmas 1935

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In Memory of

Robert Kent Henshaw

August 23, 1934 - July 24, 2013
Obituary
Biography

To Robert Kent Henshaw, the entire world was a stage. An expressive, optimistic, and uninhibited individual, he was a performer in the theater of life. To everyone around him, he seemed to be eternally happy, and he willingly shared that joy with anyone whose life he touched. For Bob, bringing out the best in any situation was as easy as offering a smile, a witty remark or the twinkle of an eye. And with just those simple gestures, he could evoke the most pleasant of emotions. Bob really mastered the art of living and had great fun in doing so.       Bob was born on August 23, 1934 at North Hudson Hospital in Weehawken Township in New Jersey. His parents were Charles Robert Henshaw, who was born in West Virginia on January 13, 1897 and Doris Evelyn Harding, who was born in Cambridge, Ohio on December 20, 1910. Bobby, as he was known as a child, moved around a lot with his parents who were playing in theaters on the Vaudeville Circuit for the first few years of his life. His father was known as Bobby "Uke" Henshaw because he played the ukulele better than anyone and we have a video of him playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" on the ukulele before a huge appreciative audience. His mother was the eldest of three sisters, two of whom (Doris and Mabel) were known as the Harding Sisters, a song and dance act. They performed on one of the very first television shows. They appeared with Bobby Uke when he was invited to...
To Robert Kent Henshaw, the entire world was a stage. An expressive, optimistic, and uninhibited individual, he was a performer in the theater of life. To everyone around him, he seemed to be eternally happy, and he willingly shared that joy with anyone whose life he touched. For Bob, bringing out the best in any situation was as easy as offering a smile, a witty remark or the twinkle of an eye. And with just those simple gestures, he could evoke the most pleasant of emotions. Bob really mastered the art of living and had great fun in doing so.
      Bob was born on August 23, 1934 at North Hudson Hospital in Weehawken Township in New Jersey. His parents were Charles Robert Henshaw, who was born in West Virginia on January 13, 1897 and Doris Evelyn Harding, who was born in Cambridge, Ohio on December 20, 1910. Bobby, as he was known as a child, moved around a lot with his parents who were playing in theaters on the Vaudeville Circuit for the first few years of his life. His father was known as Bobby "Uke" Henshaw because he played the ukulele better than anyone and we have a video of him playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" on the ukulele before a huge appreciative audience. His mother was the eldest of three sisters, two of whom (Doris and Mabel) were known as the Harding Sisters, a song and dance act. They performed on one of the very first television shows. They appeared with Bobby Uke when he was invited to play at the Hippodrome in London. We're not exactly sure when they went there, but we found a passport photo of Bobby and his Mother dated 1936. They left England for the U.S. on the last ship before the start of the War. Young Bobby received a tricycle for Christmas while in England and, of course, had to bring it home with him. The story is he rode it all over the deck of the ship all the way home terrorizing the passengers at every opportunity. As Bobby became school age the constant traveling became a concern and his parents put him into a boarding Military School while they continued to travel for work. Bobby really hated this, missing his family terribly. As an adult he would often relate to the little girl in the movie "Five Little Pennies" when the father (Red Nichols) a traveling band leader and mother (band singer) put their daughter in boarding school to provide a more stable environment and the only thing it did was make her sick. Bobby felt the same way.
     However, it wasn't long before the constant traveling put a strain on the marriage and Bobby's mother came home and took him out of Military School and his parents divorced. By now he was in school, but quite a loner so when he wasn't in school he would take the street car all by himself to downtown Los Angeles to the movie theaters and spend his days watching movies. He loved watching movies and was the one in the family who could name all the old movies and actors and actresses. He was very proud of knowing some of the big movie stars of the day Tom Mix, Donald O'Connor, but never let it go to his head and never bragged about it. He tried really hard to instill in his children and grandchildren his love of old movies.
      Even as a child, Bob had the ability to lift the spirits of all those around him. He was raised to be warm, caring and friendly. He couldn’t help but capture everyone’s attention. He was definitely a little bit of a show off, but in doing so, he succeeded in entertaining everyone around him. Ask anyone who knew him from school and they would tell you that Bob was a class “cut-up.” He didn’t do it to be unkind or to garner all the attention. Rather, he simply enjoyed others’ laughter and the sounds of his friends and acquaintances having a good time. It could be said that for Bob, grades may not have been the most important thing to him, but he really did enjoy his school experience. Bob graduated from Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra, California in 1953. His favorite class in high school was choir, following closely by drama and photography. He also loved history. He was a good student in all classes. The teacher he enjoyed learning from the most was Mr. Salisbury. Besides being the Photography Editor for the Teocalli Year Book his senior year, 1953, he was active on the Legislative Council, a member of the Jr. Exchange and Sabrins Hi-Y, and the Stage Crew.
      Bob loved in his college years and really regretted not being able to finish college, But for Bob, life was not a case of all play and no work. He pursued his dream of becoming a Minister by enrolling in Cal Western University in San Diego in 1955 and becoming the minister of youth at the Escondido Methodist Church. He transferred from Cal Western to USC in 1957 and worked nights driving a Yellow Cab and took care of our 1 year old daughter, Cyndi, while Dottie worked at Methodist Church Headquarters. In about 1958 he was privileged to work with the Reverend Dan Towler at Lincoln Avenue Methodist Church in Pasadena, CA, as his Minister of Youth (Dan was known on the Los Angeles Rams football team as Deacon Dan Towler). His favorite courses were all of the biblical history classes he could find time for. He loved being at USC. He really loved the debating and preaching, but most of all he loved being with the youth of the church. He was mentored by the high school youth counselors of the Methodist Church Youth Group where Bob and Dottie met and he wanted to pass that experience on to others.
      Bob never actually encountered a stranger in his dealings with people. He was drawn to individuals and crowds, using his gregarious, adaptable and outgoing personality to captivate his audience. This quality allowed Bob to continually develop new relationships, ever widening his circle of friends. Bob delighted in his role among all his acquaintances, because he viewed them all as potential spectators for his performance. Whether it was a story, a joke, a song or just plain fooling around, Bob was always right at home putting on a show among his friends. Bob utilized his interest in others as a great way to connect with them. This was never more evident than in his love of barbershop harmony and quartet singing that would become such an important part of his life for the last 54 years of his life. But that comes a little later in the story. While growing up, some of his best friends were Chuck Wilson and his family who introduced Bob to camping in the high sierras and photography. And, there was Don Bryce and Jim Taylor. The foursome of Bob, Chuck, Don and Jim were together all through high school. Chuck was Bob's Best Man and Don and Jim were Groomsmen at Bob and Dottie's wedding. The Whitleys, Del, Jeannette, Cherry, Mary and Connie (our Methodist Youth counselors and their family); Jim and Ruth McKee (Barbershop buddies); Mel and Ruth Messenger (Barbershop buddies who helped us find our Redlands house); Bob and Marj Stevenson (our Ohio family); the Halvorsons (our Las Vegas family). Bob loved sharing life and having his home filled with these special people he knew and loved and all the other friends and especially family who have been such an important part of his life.
Bob was 18 when he went to register for the draft in Alhambra, CA and 20 when he went back to advise them he was married, but they couldn't find his registration. That particular draft office had so many volunteers they never drafted anyone!
      The gift of being emotionally expressive and outwardly affectionate made Bob very easy to approach. On March 27, 1955 Bob exchanged wedding vows with Dorothy Kay Marvin at the First Methodist Church of San Gabriel, California. He was always sensitive to other people’s feelings, and that was especially true in marriage. Bob never forgot a birthday, anniversary or special occasion. And, in fact, made many ordinary days into special occasions.
      Perhaps the reason Bob related so well to children was the fact that he never really completely grew up himself. The ability to be just a “kid at heart” helped him in raising his own children. Bob was blessed with two children, daughter, Cynthia Kay Gordon, and son, Jeffrey Kent Henshaw. They were also blessed with eight grandchildren, Hayley Kay Monge, Kyley Elizabeth Pence, Graham Mitchell Pence, Ethan William Pence, Margaret Louise "Molly" Gordon, Shawna Ranea Diep, Michael Edwin Sim and Alexis Marie Sim. He also has four great grandchildren, Taylor Cory Logan, Christian Kent Logan, Natalia Rose Monge and Carson Robert Pence. Bob had the ability to focus his attention on the present moment. If he was spending time with the kids, that’s where all of his attention was directed. Bob's compassionate side prevented him from being a strict disciplinarian, and he could turn just about any situation into a playful, learning experience. He could spend hours entertaining them with fun and creative play. His favorite time with his "kids" in the later years was "cuddling" and he was an expert cuddlier (just ask Squirt). However, he cultivated the art a lot longer ago - we have pictures of Graham sound asleep on his Pop's chest, who was also sound asleep - very cozy.
      At work, as in life, Bob was a real “people person.” He had a very successful way of dealing effectively with others, and his enthusiasm and energy was often contagious. When dealing with various projects and problems, Bob was an adaptable realist, using his common sense and trusting his experiences and impulses to uncover the correct answer. Bob's talent for being a down to earth thinker, allowed many around him to see Bob as an excellent problem solver. His primary occupation was sales. No matter the product, he could sell anything! But his fell in love with the golf course industry and selling golf maintenance equipment. He was employed for almost 40 years in the golf course industry. He was able to realize another dream by owning his own business in Las Vegas from 1988 to 1993. Those were very productive years.
     As mentioned earlier, Bob's favorite hobby was singing barbershop harmony in a chorus or with three other guys anytime of the day or night. In 1960 when he was Minister of Youth at the La Crescenta Methodist Church he went out to interview a couple from the church to be counselors of the high school youth group. Instead of recruiting the couple for the youth group, the husband, who was directing a barbershop chorus at the time, talked Bob into joining his chorus and that was the beginning of a life long hobby that turned into 54 years of harmony and many, many life long friendships. Bob was responsible for encouraging most of the rest of our family to get involved too - the men are in Barbershop Harmony Society and the women are in Sweet Adelines.
When Bob joined what was then the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Singing in America (S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A.), now called Barbershop Harmony Society, he was invited to join a quartet the very first week. Not one to be shy, he accepted and right away got into quartet competition and was hooked for the rest of his life. While that quartet didn't last very long, it was the starting point for his next quartet, The Merry Chords, who were together from 1960 to 1965 with Bill Merry, Dutch Holland, and Ken McGonigle. The Merry Chords placed as high as Second in Far Western District Contest and were in great demand as a show quartet. During this period of time Bob moved from the chorus in La Crescenta to the Downey Revelaires directed by Earl Moon and they placed 4th at International contest in 1962 at Kansas City, MO.
In 1965 the Henshaws moved to San Diego and Bob joined the San Diego Sun Harbor Chorus. He also joined the Four Part-ners quartet in 1965 with Marvin Yerke, Ernie Lippe and Art Brown. In 1966, the Sun Harbor Chorus placed 5th at International in Chicago, IL, and in 1967 the Four Part-ners placed 2nd in the quarter contest at the Far Western District. The Part-ners were together until 1968 and enjoyed great demand as a show quartet and traveled to many shows in the private plane owned by their bass, Marv Yerkey, who also directed the chorus.
In 1969, Bob and Ernie Lippe formed a new quartet, The West Coast Four, joined by Jim Lee and Darryl Barnes. Darryl's father was State Senator Barnes and the quartet enjoyed the rare opportunity of being invited to sing for then-governor Ronald Reagan in Sacramento.
In 1970, the Henshaws moved to Yucaipa, CA, and Bob joined the Riverside Citrus Belters Chorus, directed by Jerry Fairchild. The opportunity to sing with International champion Jerry was too good to pass up and the RSVP quartet was formed with Jerry, Bob, Bruce Maxey and Jim McKee. While they never competed (much to Bob's regret), they were in great demand for shows everywhere and spent four great years together singing everywhere. Bob's job offer in Ohio in 1974 opened the door for another lead to step into his place in the RSVP. When the Henshaws moved back to California in the early 1980s, they located in Redlands even though Bob's office was in Santa Fe Springs. He went back to sing with Riverside Citrus Belters and the RSVP got back together to be the quartet in the "Music Man" for the Redlands High School and Bowl performance series in 1983. It was a great production and the kids and the quartet got along famously. Bob really loved being on stage.
      Bob felt excited and challenged by sports. Even if he wasn’t the best, Bob loved to participate and thoroughly enjoyed the competition and the pleasure of being around other people. Bob understood the basics of most sports, which was good as he constantly had to answer Dottie's questions. In high school, Bob played catcher on the church soft ball league and continued to play into his early adult years whenever possible. He coached several of Jeff's Little League baseball teams and took one of them to First Place in the League in 1970. Recreational sports included bowling leagues through the years with Dottie, whose father could have been a professional bowler. Bob was a big sports fan and enjoyed watching his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. He always treasured the ballgame he went to and found himself in a box next to then actor Ronald Reagan. When the game became particularly boring Mr. Reagan began making paper airplanes out of the program and they had contests to see who could sail their planes the farthest onto the field! Bob was able to joke with Governor Reagan about this when his quartet sang for the Governor in Sacramento.
      Bob had an endless appetite for new and different activities. Because of his personality, his humor, and his ability to get along with everyone, Bob's service was greatly valued by the organizations to which he belonged. In high school and for a year after we were married, Bob worked for Miller Flower Garden in Alhambra, CA. Every New Year's day he drove Miller's float or the City of Alhambra float in the Rose Parade in Pasadena. This meant that we never spent a New Year's Eve together until he stopped driving because he had to be with the float from New Year's Eve day straight through until the end of the Parade when the float was parked in the viewing area. If his float didn't break down, besides his pay, which wasn't very much, he was also given two tickets to the Rose Bowl Game. Of course, by game time he was too tired to go so he usually gave them away. Because of that job he hates the smell of chrysanthemums as they are the predominant flower glued on the floats and after spending all night and all day under the float, sometimes laying on the frame of the chassis, driving by the line down the center of the street or directions being called by a spotter walking beside the float, he was ready to be finished, not sit on a hard bench!
      Vested with a deep concern for spiritual development, Bob recognized that his faith was important to him throughout his life. He was a member of the Methodist Church from 1955 to 1970, but we were becoming disillusioned with the shift away from teaching the bible and the move toward social concerns. When we moved to Ohio in 1970, our new neighbors, the Stevensons introduced us to their church, The Evangelical Lutheran Church. It was so warm and friendly and Pastor Ullery and his family made it seem like we had known them forever. It was our church until we moved back to California in 1979. During the time in California from 1979 through moving to Las Vegas in 1988 and clear up until Jeff and Trish convinced us we should come to Green Valley Presbyterian Church, we had just drifted from church to church. Joining GVPC was one of the best decisions we ever made. It is indeed our church home. Robert really enjoyed his time serving as a Deacon.
      Naturally outgoing and generous, Bob was regularly doing things for others. For him, the gift of giving to others was second nature. Though he never set out to gain individual recognition, Bob was given accolades for his many and varied accomplishments throughout his life. Some of his most prestigious awards included being President of the Southern California Turfgrass Council 1986-1987 and being awarded a life time membership in the Council; a Certificate of Appreciation from the North Orange County Community College District in recognition of service rendered to the Colleges of the District as a valued member of the Horticulture, Landscape Management Advisory Committee during the school year 1987-88; an Appreciation Award from the Southwest Golf Course Superintendents Association for dedicated service on The Board of Directors 1990-1991; an Award to Robert Henshaw & Co. for the Highest % of Sales Financed by TFC in 1989; Spirit of Volunteerism Recognition presented to Robert Henshaw & Co. from the Angel Planes for 1990, 1991 and 1992; Distributor of the Year Award presented to Robert Henshaw & Company by Jacobsen Textron 1991; Appreciation for Las Vegas Heldorado Sponsor to Robert Henshaw & Co. for 1991 and 1992; Certificate of Appreciation to Robert Henshaw & Co. from the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve in Honor of Deployment for 1991 for deployment of two of our employees to the first Gulf War.
      It is no surprise that Bob loved to travel and to visit new and different places. He was naturally curious about other parts of the world and loved the real life adventure that came from visiting them. He was impulsive and willing to try anything once. Favorite vacations included deciding one Christmas to pick up and leave on the spur of the moment and take the family to Oregon to see Dottie's mother and step-father (and surprise, Santa found us there!); taking the family to Yosemite when we had to tie Jeff to a tree to keep him in camp because he could run so fast none of us could catch him when he was little; many family camping trips in our VW bug - all four of us crammed in, with our gear on top of the car; the trip to Williamsburg; the five-day canoe trip down the Manistee River in Michigan; the all expenses paid trip to the big island of Hawaii when he won the Distributor of the Year Award; sailing on the three masted tall ship, Sir Francis Drake, through the Caribbean Islands; several trips to the Wine Country in California; Bushard Gardens in Victoria British Columbia covered in ice - breathtakingly beautiful; Banff, Canada....
      Bob was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of Bob's favorites was Kelly, Bob's last pet and the favorite. Bob said not too long ago, what would we do without him? Kelly is a shaggy Jack Russell terrier, at least that's what he looks like! They were best friends for the rest of Bob's life. We adopted Kelly in November of 2012 and he became Bob's couch buddy. Kelly has had a hard time adjusting to being home alone, but I don't know what I would do without him now. Bob's pet family consisted of his first dog Taffy when he was in high school, who he said was the very smartest dog ever and could shut the door on command without being trained. Then we had Jessie when our kids were young. She was a wonderful German Shepherd who lived to the ripe old age of 13. There were several cats along the way, but the dogs were Bob's favorites.
      Bob believed that you had to experience life, and his life in retirement was no different. When that day finally arrived in 2009 and he finally stopped working at least part time, Bob took it in stride as one more way to have fun. His new life involved supporting Dottie's Sweet Adeline hobby after all the years she supported his Barbershop Quartet hobby. With his boundless energy and a desire to get the most out of life, Bob remained busy with people and cooking. The family loved his Bar-B-Qs and requested them frequently! In retirement, he found a little more time to sing barbershop harmony from time to time and even competed one more time in the Seniors Quartet Contest, and he dearly loved singing with his good friends, Jim and Ken Kline and Bob Griffiths. Even in retirement, Bob continued to stay in touch with his old friends and, since he'd never met a stranger, he made plenty of new acquaintances as well, especially at GVPC.
      Bob passed away on July 24, 2013 at 10:15 am at St. Rose Siena Hospital in Henderson, NV. Bob spent many years with a pacemaker keeping his heart working wonderfully well and it was a big shock when all of a sudden his heart stopped. Though we knew it was always a possibility, we just never thought about it happening like that. He had two of the most wonderful doctors who really kept him with us several years longer than he would have been had he not had them. For that we will always be grateful to these two wonderful men. He is survived by his wife, Dottie, their daughter Cynthia Kay Gordon and husband, Alan Gordon; son, Jeffrey Kent Henshaw and wife Patricia "Trish" Henshaw; grandchildren Margaret Louise "Molly" Gordon, Hayley Kay Monge, Kyley Elizabeth Pence, Graham Mitchell Pence, Ethan William Pence; Shawna Ranea Diep, Michael Edwin Sim and Alexis Marie Sim; and great grandchildren Taylor Cory Logan, Christian Kent Logan, Natalia Rose Monge and Carson Robert Pence. Services were held at Green Valley Presbyterian Church in Henderson, NV.
      Bob brought joy to all of those around him. He never had a mean bone in his body. He loved to have a good time and was an eternal optimist, always looking on the bright side of things. He loved to share his energy, wit, and his zest for all of his activities with his friends and family. Robert Kent Henshaw lived life to its fullest and made everyone around him happier just for knowing him. He will be remembered with a smile.

"Dottie, I'm so sorry for your loss of Bob. After reading his obit, I'm even more sorry not to have met or known him, he must have been an amazing man. I..." Marilyn Meyer (Thousand Oaks, CA)

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