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Richard Lee Henderson

1949 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Richard Lee Henderson Obituary
Henderson, Richard Lee

Richard Lee Henderson, 67, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, attained mortality after an epic battle with a new truck camping tent. Having triumphed, he lied down for a nice nap from which he never awoke.

Richard was born to Leona Clarisse Hurst and James Leonard Mobley on September 22, 1949, in Hillsboro, Oregon. After spectacularly failing first grade, his family discovered he was hard of hearing and planned to enroll him in the New Mexico School for the Deaf. When another little deaf boy sucker punched him, Richard decided to give public school another shot. If you subscribe to Richard's political views, then you know this troubled young man was obviously a future Republican in the making. After graduating from Sandia High School in 1969, Richard studied to be an electrical technician at Devry and shortly thereafter married Iris Louise Miller of Pendleton, Oregon. The pair had two daughters and settled in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where Richard spent the first half of his career working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. During this time he most definitely never smoked any marijuana. At all. Richard spent the second half of his career in the civil sector at Tri-State Electric in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Richard was a devout atheist with sound reverence for science and reason. As a patron of public television and the arts, he loved New Mexico's cultural richness and enchanted views. As a young outdoorsman, Richard was a dexterous harasser of snakes and was known to disregard even the most basic camping safety. A spelunker as well, he once left his newly literate six year-old unattended at a cave entrance next to a sign that read "Danger: Rattlesnakes!" In middle age Richard fostered a deep appreciation for cafeteria food bargains and flea markets, to which he dragged his daughters regularly so they could reluctantly share in inventorying other people's crap, and marvel at all the stuff they didn't need. Not-quite-age-appropriate movies helped Richard teach his girls about the world. He considered weekend bedtimes trivial compared to the excitement of backyard camp-out poker tournaments, played with colossal jars of pocket change. His early love of a 1956 Chevy translated into a lifetime of tinkering with cars, planes, and in later years the next generation of RC hotrod: the aerial drone.

The tragic death of Richard's step-father, Air Force Captain David Henderson, whose plane crashed high in the Sierra Mountains in 1955, initiated a life-long quest for answers. After years of trekking up the sheer and humbling mountains surrounding Independence Lake, the crash site was finally locatedâ€"much to the relief of Richard's then heavily pregnant wife. Richard spent the next four decades sharing his maps and photographs with everyone including: friends, old classmates, gas station attendants, and even the Census man. It's only right that Richard be returned to the mountains that served as such a source of fascination. Too bad his daughters didn't pay attention to the exact location of the crash site and will soon be carrying on the legacy of traipsing up and over those illustrious peaks while employing the familial navigational method of "We haven't tried that direction yet."

Richard was cremated on February 27th, leaving his daughters Danna Blumenau (Henderson) of Plano, Texas, and Lesley Henderson of Dallas, Texas; his brother David Henderson of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and sister Lisa Goetz-Bouknight of Bend, Oregon; his niece Aletheia Bouknight and two nephews Joshua Hilber and Jordan Hilber to once again hike Independence Lake together in search of the crash site, which will be the final resting place of Richard, Mark, and Leona Henderson. The trip is tentatively planned for July, weather permitting. In lieu of flowers, please help preserve Independence Lake by contributing to the Northern Sierra Partnership at


Published in Albuquerque Journal on Apr. 3, 2016
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