Memorial Celebration Held in Honor of Bruce Henderson

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University women's basketball Head Coach Bruce Henderson, who passed way on Dec. 8, was a friend to nearly everyone he met. He had an impact on so many people with his big smile, his jokes and his willingness to help out others. So it was no surprise that a large group of people attended the memorial celebrate in Henderson's honor on Sunday, Dec. 14 at Cone Field House.

Several of the people who knew Henderson best spoke to the crowd at the memorial celebration. I won't try to relay their comments here because I can't replicate the emotions, feelings and experiences they discussed. It is important, though, to indicate that they all provided meaningful and exceptional comments that were heart-felt and very appropriate for the occasion. They each explained Henderson's positive impact on those he encountered -- some for a short time, others for many years.

The celebration also included a slide show prepared by Christopher Sabato with help from other friends of Henderson. The slide show was accompanied by music and provided images of Henderson growing up in Hawaii, plus photos with family and friends, and on the basketball court. It included video footage of Henderson singing karaoke to "What a Wonderful World."

Speakers during the memorial celebration were Charles Wallace, Willamette chaplain; Dr. Lee Pelton, president of Willamette; Mark Majeski, Willamette Director of Athletics; Brad Day, friend and "brother;" Sara Brooks, Willamette assistant women's basketball coach; Gordie James, Willamette men's basketball head coach; and Cassie Belmodis, Chemeketa Community College athletic director

In addition to the large crowd at Cone Field House, we know there were many others who wanted to attend, but were unable to travel to Salem due to a variety of reasons. Henderson's family, the Willamette women's basketball team and Henderson's many friends and colleagues, thank you for your calls, e-mails, flowers and other methods of showing support.

Bruce --
Thank you for the many ways you have been a friend to so many people. We will always remember your smile, your jokes and your positive outlook. You will always be with us.
-- Robert
On behalf of the Willamette Athletics Department

Men's basketball Head Coach Gordie James speaks to the crowd at the memorial celebration honoring Bruce Henderson.

Men's basketball Head Coach Gordie James speaks to the crowd at the memorial celebration honoring Bruce Henderson.

Sara Brooks speaks at the memorial celebration.

Sara Brooks speaks at the memorial celebration.