Enid News & Eagle
Gene Henderson will celebrate his 90th birthday with a come-and-go reception for family and friends 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Covington Fire and Rescue Station on Main Street in Covington. Cards may be sent to Box 87, Covington, OK 73730.
Gene was born Oct. 21, 1923, in Freedom, Okla., the son of Marion E. and Edna C. Henderson.
The family moved to Mooreland in 1932, where Gene participated in basketball, was an active member in the Future Farmers of America, serving on several successful judging teams, and also was named a Junior Master Farmer.
He graduated from Mooreland High School in 1941, and attended Oklahoma A&M for one year.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1942, he immediately enlisted in the Army and was placed in the A.S.T.P Program and continued his studies until March 1943, when he traveled to Camp Mazie in Paris, Texas, for basic training. While at Camp Mazie, he applied for veterinary school and was accepted. As a part of that program, he then attended Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., for one year, then was later moved to Fort Simmons Hospital in Denver, Colo., where he finished his training as a medical technician. Several months later, he was shipped to Fort Benjamin, in Harrison, Ind., then to Camp Ellis in Illinois, on to Camp Barkley, Abilene, Texas, and finally to Camp Edwards in Massachusetts.
From Massachusetts, he received his orders for overseas duty and shipped out in April 1944. He landed in Leyte in the Philippines, then on to Mindinau, where he was assigned to the 99th Evacuation Hospital. He left the E-Vac hospital to go to Pinai, where all new equipment was received, preparing for the invasion of Japan. As he reached the Tokyo Harbor, Gene viewed the USS Battleship Missouri leaving the Harbor, and later learned that the Peace Treaty with Japan had been signed aboard the Missouri that very day. While serving in Utisoma, Japan, he was attached to the 158th Regimental Combat Team and stayed there working as a lab technician until returning to the United States. He was honorably discharged at Leavenworth, Kan., in April 1946.
Due to the deluge of returning servicemen, his enrollment for veterinary school at Kansas State University was delayed. He then returned to Oklahoma A&M, only to find that at the time, there was no vet school program. He decided he would resume his studies, majoring in agriculture education.
While in Mooreland during the summer of 1946, he met Iris Binford. They were married Aug. 1, 1947, and then returned to Oklahoma A&M, where he completed his senior year, and while doing so, served as the editor of The Redskin.
After graduation, Gene accepted the position of Vocational Agriculture Instructor in Amorita, Oklahoma. In 1953, he accepted a position for Vo-Ag instructor in Covington, where he taught for 26 years. In 1979, he accepted a position with the State Department of Vo-Tech as the Young Farmer Coordinator for the western half of the state and operated from his office at the Enid O.T. Autry Vo-Tech for nine years. After his retirement in December 1987, he ran for and was elected as a member and president of the O.T. Autry Vo-Tech School Board, where he served two consecutive terms.
Gene and Iris have four children, Jeff and Angie Henderson of Oklahoma City, Jennifer and Steve Hart of Enid, and Brent and Cheri Henderson and Brian and Carla Henderson, all of Kingfisher. They have 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.