Lee West Henderson

Obituary
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  • "My deepest sympathy to Mary and the entire Henderson..."
  • "My deepest condolences to Lee's family. He was an..."
    - Laurinda Cooker
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1930 - 2017
Lee West Henderson, MD, FACP, 86, died July 3rd at his recent home in Bellevue, Washington. Born in New York in 1930, to Ralph E. Henderson and Clifford W. Henderson, his remarkable career spanned the entire era of maintenance dialysis.

After graduating from Harvard, he earned his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He then went on to hold important posts at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California at San Diego. He served as president of the American Society of Artificial Organs, was a founder of the Society of Blood Purification, and held the post of second Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Blood Purification. In 1988, he moved to Baxter Healthcare Corporation as Vice President for Scientific Affairs and founder of the prestigious Extramural Grant Program. Notwithstanding all his other career achievements, he will most likely be remembered and judged on the depth, breadth, and impact of his peer review publications. His most significant innovation and contribution to medicine and bioengineering was hemofiltration, a blood purification technique, which, in some countries, has replaced hemodialysis.

Despite his many professional accomplishments, he remained humble and loved nothing more than developing photographs in his home darkroom and building fine furniture in his woodshop. Over the years he was married to Jane Henderson, with whom he had four children, Priscilla Henderson, with whom he designed and created museum quality basketry, and, finally, the love of his life, Mary Henderson, with whom he, along with a bevy of contractors, built their dream home in Kent, Connecticut, the small town where Lee summered as a child. He loved chocolate to distraction and was a master at off-the-cuff puns. He never ate broccoli without reciting Ogden Nash's, Broccoli, while not exoccoli, is with an innach of being spinach.

In the early days, on family camping trips, he would wear a pith helmet and would send a napkin parachute up a kite string, which would release upon reaching the top then float to earth.

He is survived by his first wife Jane Henderson (Philadelphia, PA.), with whom he kept in contact, and his widow, Mary Henderson (Bellevue, WA.); his four children: Lee West Henderson (Riverside, CA.), Mary Clifford Henderson (Santa Cruz, CA.), Elizabeth Henderson Cush (Annapolis, MD), and Jim Clarkson Henderson (Katy, TX.); his sister Clifford Porter (Rockville, MD.), his brother Ralph Henderson, MD (Atlanta, GA); his grandchildren: Tom, Andy, and Sam Cush, and Greg Malnar, and his beloved border collie Bonnie.

He was beloved and will be sorely missed.
Published on NYTimes.com from July 10 to July 11, 2017
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