Simon Wood “Bubba” Henderson III
A private funeral service for Simon Wood “Bubba” Henderson III, 86, of Lufkin was held on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 in the Henderson Chapel of First United Methodist Church with Reverend Dr. Jerome J. Brimmage officiating. Interment followed in the Glendale Cemetery. A public reception was held at Crown Colony Country Club.
Mr. Henderson was born in Keltys, Texas on January 4, 1934 to the late Loucile (Johnson) and Simon Wood Henderson, Jr., and died peacefully surrounded by family on Thursday, September 10, 2020 at his residence.
Mr. Henderson was a lifelong Panther fan who played football while in high school. He graduated from Lufkin High School in 1950, the last year the school district had 11 grades. He kept up with friends and attended reunions, including hosting several at his beloved Lake House.
Mr. Henderson attended the Schreiner Military Institute (now Schreiner University) from 1950-1951 before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1956 with a degree in Business Administration. While there, he was a manager of the football team supporting his beloved Longhorns and a member of the Tau Deuteron Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. He dodged some actual bullets and took part in shenanigans that extended his university career by about two years because he befriended the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer rep.
After finishing UT, he enlisted in the U.S. Army missing Elvis Presley by one week, a tragedy he never forgot, but was able to hang out with him behind a bar and shoot the bull with him during his Blue Suede Shoes Tour. He spent his time in basic training hanging with war-hardened veterans and conspiring with his comrades to get a jerk of a drill sergeant transferred off the base. After his illustrious but short military career, he began working and lived in North and South Carolina, as well as Dallas, Texas. He started a successful company servicing car air conditioning compressors. While in Dallas, his well-honed social charisma made him popular resulting in being invited to join the prestigious Idlewild, Terpsichorean, Calyx, and Dervish Clubs. In addition, he was a member of the Dallas Country Club. He made many lifelong friends in the Dallas area and met the mother of his children, Joie Honea. They married in 1972. After the birth of their oldest daughter in Dallas, they returned to Lufkin in 1977, so he could run Lufkin Federal Savings and Loan Association started by his father in 1934. He was part of the Lufkin Federal family beginning in 1964 and was Chairman of the Board/C.E.O. and Director when the bank sold in 1992.
After his time with the bank, he owned and operated HSH Properties Partnership, LP. He was known for picking up mail, running by the bank, and daily breakfasts with lifelong friends, including Joe Deason, Tom Darmstadter, Dr. Arthur Jordan, Murphy George, and Mayor Bob Brown — just to name a few — at Lone Star Charlie’s moving to IHOP when Charlie’s was not around. Many local arguments and plans for Lufkin and Angelina County were hatched over cups of coffee and disputes about who was picking up the tab.
Mr. Henderson spent most of his life as a resident of Lufkin using his time, energy, and enthusiasm to support the community. He was on the following Boards of Directors: Lufkin Industries, Memorial Medical Center of East Texas (now, Chi St. Luke’s), Hospice in the Pines, A&NR Railroad, Southland Paper Mill, Angelina County Airport, Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council, United Way of Angelina County, Angelina County Health District, Lufkin Workshop and Opportunity Center, Salvation Army, Lufkin Historical and Creative Arts Museum, George Henderson Exposition Center, and Pine Island, Inc. He was a 33rd degree Mason in the Scottish Rite. He was a member of the Rotary Club, the Knights Templar, the Shrine Club (past President), a 50+ year member of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas, and a 50+ year member of the Grand Council Royal and Select Masters of Texas. He received the Salute to Healthcare Award in 2010 for his service to the medical community.
He was a past President of the Angelina County Chamber of Commerce and past director and Vice President of East Texas Chamber of Commerce. It was in the capacity as Chamber President that he brainstormed and spearheaded the rebirth of the Texas State Forest Festival. Making the Forest Festival a part of the Lufkin community calendar was one of his proudest accomplishments. His log-rolling adventures became the stuff of legend for kids of a certain age. He was, most recently, the Grand Marshall of the 2019 Forest Festival parade. In addition, he swears he came up with the slogan “You’ll Love Lufkin”, but we were never able to verify, so you’ll have to take his word for it.
Mr. Henderson was a well-seasoned pilot with multi-engine, sea plane, and helicopter ratings. His famous story of getting his helicopter rating came when there was a joystick malfunction, and they had to crash land. This resulted in the main rotor shearing off the tail rotor and the instructor running for her life. Our dad attempted to run but was clotheslined by his headphones. Neither dad nor instructor were harmed in this exercise.
Mr. Henderson was an avid outdoorsman being skilled at fishing and hunting, as well as conservation efforts locally and across the state. One of his most exceptional accomplishments was to complete the Grand Slam for sheep in North America. He even has a belt buckle to prove it. He spent many hours in the outdoors mowing and looking at trees. His love of trees and burning things was balanced by his disdain for hogs. His love of the outdoors led to him being named the East Texas Coordinator of Wildlife Conservation Act and receiving the 2010 Lone Star Land Steward Award for his work in conservation and timber management.
He owned and operated HSH Properties Partnership, LP and the Simon and Louise Henderson Foundation. He was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church in Lufkin.
His love of Blue Bell Ice Cream, Bosco Chocolate, Mayhaw Jelly, and Joie’s Sugar cookies were legendary. The Blue Bell contamination situation almost created an international incident and hoarding began in his freezer.
He had many names, Bubba, Bosco, BooBa, Bubbles, Bubby, Uncle Bub, and most important, Dad and Papa Bub. Our dad left a legacy of love and back scratches for us and shoes almost too big to fill. We were the lucky ones because we got to go on all of these wonderful adventures with him and be covered up in his love.
Survivors include his daughters, Honea Henderson Owens and husband Craig of Dallas, Virginia Loucile “Sister” Henderson and her husband Cory, Holly Louise Henderson, all of Lufkin; 5 grandchildren who he adored, Reed Henderson Rothermel, Harrison Edward Owens, Kingston Vashon Henderson, Bruno Wood Vlcek, and Elizabeth Grace Vlcek; sister Virginia Henderson Winston of Lufkin; mother of children, Joie Honea Henderson of Lufkin; and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives who adored him. Everyone will miss driving around with Papa Bub in his buggy really fast to look at the trees and listening to his wild stories.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three sisters, Irma Veree Alexander, Elizabeth Louise Page, and Sue Henderson McMurrey.
Memories and condolences may be added at www.carrowayfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Museum of East Texas for the Simon Wood Henderson III Education Building, 503 N 2nd St., Lufkin, Texas 75901 or online at www.metlufkin.org, or your favorite charity.
The Henderson girls would like to say a very special thank you to Kristina, John, John Patrick, and Summer McCoy for being part of our extended family and a source of enormous comfort and support during Bubba’s life and after. In addition, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of the caregivers who helped make the end of our sweet daddy’s life gentle and comfortable. Glenda, Amber, Cristina, Chelley, Eugene (JR), Cindy, Sally, Jackie, Naty, Sophia, Laurie, and A Pineywoods Home Health staff, our words of thanks do not express how grateful we are to know you for your love and support. We could not have done this without you.
Carroway Funeral Home, Lufkin, directors.