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Mon, April 06

Obituary: Raymond "Ray" Henderson

Raymond “Ray” Henderson

Raymond “Ray” Henderson

Raymond "Ray" Henderson, 93, a longtime resident of Prescott, Ariz., passed away peacefully Saturday, Feb. 6, at his residence at the Peridot Retirement Community.

As a dedicated music educator, Ray touched the lives of more people in this region than nearly any other person. During his 28 years of teaching in Prescott, he is best known for teaching band and orchestra at the high school level. Under his direction, his students were awarded 25 superior ratings at the annual Northern Arizona University music festival. In addition to teaching, he served for two decades as Music Coordinator to Prescott Public Schools.

Highly regarded by his colleagues throughout the state of Arizona, he was awarded the John C. Faris Honored Music Educator Legacy in 2008. Raymond and his students provided many years of enjoyment to the community including concerts, Prescott parades and football halftime shows. He led various church choirs for 45 years and played the violin in the Yavapai Symphony for 21 years. He served as both the founder and the initial conductor of the Prescott Strings.

Ray was born in 1916 in Winfield, Kan. In 1937, he received his music degree from Southwestern College and married the love of his life, Aleen Gillespie. He served honorably in the U.S. Navy during WWII as a communications officer aboard the destroyer USS Rogers.

He and Aleen moved to Prescott in 1949. They were married for 68 years. Although they had no children, Ray was a father figure to many of his students. Aleen and Ray spent their retirement years touring the U.S. in their motorhome. Their dogs would accompany them on their many trips. They had a woodcarving business that was very successful in the western U.S.

Raymond was preceded in death by his wife in 2005 and by his brother Paul in 2007. He will be greatly missed by his friends and his adoring family, including sister-in-law Margaret Henderson; nieces Susie, Debby, Paula and Becky; four grand-nephews; and one grand-niece.

A memorial service in his honor will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, at the Prescott United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Prescott Strings, c/o Glenn Welshon, 932 N. Mt. Hollow Ct., Prescott, AZ 86301.

Information provided by survivors.

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