It is with a tremendous and heavy heart that the family of Ron Henderson announce his passing on Thursday October 15, 2020 at the age of 92. Ron passed away peacefully, in his home, surrounded by family and their abundant love for him filling his enormous heart.
Ron was the only child of the late John and Kathleen Henderson. He was the beloved husband of the late Betty Henderson for 56 years and Edith Henderson (Stone) for the past 9 years.
He is survived by his four children Brian (Lee), Craig (Barbara), Laurie (husband Allan predeceased) Lisa (Brad), twelve grandchildren: Sean, Alex (Sarah), Patricia (Peter), Jennifer, Stephen, Scott (Kateri),
Ryan (Michele), Kelly (Geoff), Heather (Attila), Billy, Brady (Sarah), Carson, nine great-grandchildren: Emma, Jocelyn, Evelyn, Lillian, Hannah, Audrey, Owen, Jaxson, Finnley, wife Edith and her children David, Rebecca, Barbara and their families.
Ron was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1928. He was an only child raised by two loving parents and cherished by his grandparents. He was married to Betty Henderson for 56 years before her passing in 2007. While happy and nurtured as a young child, Ron missed what might have been his life with siblings. He knew from a young age that he wanted to have a big family someday. His life changed forever to become the epic family life he had always dreamed of having when he met Betty and the two married in 1951. Their life as a couple and as parents was GRAND and filled with incredible love, adventure, and a deep commitment to the family they had created. Ron was born to be a family man. He was most proud of his role as a husband, father of four, a grandpa to twelve and a great-grandpa to nine. He was the “the keeper” of the family with his incredible ability to recall, from memory, each and every birthday for all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His happiest moments were spending time with the entire “clan”. He was a proud man, a man of great character, with a soft and tender heart. He was a calm influence and a gentle-loving soul. He was self-less in his interactions with others. He believed in fairness, second-chances, hard-work, honesty, giving back to his community, being a good listener, being organized, being attentive to every detail in fastidious fashion, being prepared, being trustworthy and honourable. His strong character and integrity as a family man with the values he held strong in his heart and the skills he took with him into the work world as a fine businessman gave him a sense of pride that he was able to provide for his family. Ron worked for a few years with General Accident in Toronto followed by 35 years with Allstate Insurance. Most of his Allstate years were spent in Toronto with the exception of one year in Vancouver in 1963. In 1976, at the age of 48, Ron made, what was to become his biggest “leap of faith” when he and his wife Betty packed up the family and moved from Toronto to beautiful Owen Sound on Georgian Bay. A degree from “Hamburger University” in hand, Ron opened the first McDonald’s Restaurant in Owen Sound, Ontario with wife Betty and all of their kids working alongside “in the family biz”. Without a doubt, this changed Ron’s life forever and fulfilled his dream of running his own small business while raising his family in a beautiful small town community (with “bonus” beautiful Georgian Bay as his vista on his drive to work each day). A few years later he then opened the first McDonald’s Restaurant in nearby Port Elgin, Ontario. Ron was admired and respected as an owner/operator and employer; fair to a fault and always willing to give teens in his community a chance in life which, for most was their very first job. He remembered his own teenage years juggling three jobs to save and make ends meet and he never forgot this and how it shaped his strong work ethic and guiding principles in his lifelong work. “Treat your staff well and the ship shall sail itself”. Staff parties, baseball games, bowling leagues, barbecues, beach days were all organized to build a sense of family, fun and teamwork. New jobs were created, friendships were formed, weddings and lots and lots of “My First Job” memories were made for many teens and adults of all ages.
Throughout his years being the wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, that he was, he always made time for his family, friends, neighbours and his community. Over the years in Toronto, Vancouver, Owen Sound, Port Elgin, Port St. Lucie, Florida, Venice, Florida and Muskoka, including all the beautiful places that he has travelled in the world, Ron enjoyed his friends and meeting new people. He had magnificent recall of all the wonderful time he spent with his friends and neighbours over the years. In turn, he taught his own children to be good friends and good neighbours, to check in with others and to cherish the joy that family and friends bring to your life. Being someone others can always count on in life is what Ron modelled. Others could count on Ron in so many ways with his giving heart. In his own family, with the birth of each grandchild, he established scholarship trust funds to encourage their post-secondary education. Through his work and as President of the Owen Sound Rotary Club, Ron and his wife Betty sponsored children in other countries. He gave tirelessly of his time and heart as President of the Ramoca Shrine Club in 1987 and was a member of the Royal Order of Jesters. He was President of the Owen Sound Golf Course, during his years in Owen Sound, once again, applying both his management and people skills to recreational golf events to build spirit and community. In his later years, with Gravenhurst as his residence, always the lifelong learner, Ron enjoyed attending meetings at Probus; Probus fed his curiosity and desire in retirement to keep abreast of new topics and information with guest speakers from his own local community. Ron was a voracious reader of current events and read 2-3 newspapers per day. Also in Gravenhurst, Ron enjoyed his volunteer time with his wife Edie at the Grace and Speed Museum dedicated to preserving the history of the Muskoka steamships.
Ron loved his Toronto Blue Jays and was grateful for the improvised 2020 baseball season in this new world of “Covid 19”. Like so many, he did his best to stay positive in a world where, for the first time in his life, he was being told to “stay in and stay safe” when all he wanted to do was to get out with family or friends for dinner and a movie. Ron loved his family, his friends, his community, baseball, golf, hockey, entertaining, always the perfect host , being warm in Florida in January, reading books, morning walks, Snoopy, going to the movies, ice-cream, the lake, birthday parties, Terry Fox, being on time, food, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, being fair, travel, looking and feeling his best, Black Labs Maccie and Mulligan, boat rides and LIFE! He moved through life with a grateful heart and an enviably full bucket list through hard work and setting goals. He would often say: “If I were to die tomorrow I would be grateful for the long and wonderful life I’ve had.” Ron died peacefully at home surrounded by the love of his family exactly how he would have indicated it should be on his “To Do” list. Ron lived as a loved man and he died a loved man. He touched the lives of everyone he met and he will be missed in this world beyond measure.
Ron’s children and Edie would like to thank Dr. Rix and Dr. Gupta and their reception staff for their wonderful care and communication during Ron’s illness, as well as all the caring neighbours and Ernie at The Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst. Ron felt loved and honoured as he received phone-calls, letters, emails and visits from all family, friends and neighbours.
Visitation for Family & Friends will be held Sunday October 18th, 2020 from 7-9pm at the Breckenridge-Ashcroft Funeral Home, 241 9th Street West, Owen Sound, 519-376-2326
A Private Family Funeral Service will be held and live streamed at Breckenridge-Ashcroft Funeral Home in Owen Sound on Monday October 19th, 2020 at 1:00pm. Friends and family wishing to view the service may do so on facebook @BrownFamilyFH or in the service details below.
In lieu of flowers and as an expression of sympathy, memorial donations to the Shriners Hospital for Children Canada would be appreciated by the family.
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