Gordon G. Henderson, of Spencer, W.Va., formerly of Atlanta, Ga., died Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at the age of 86.|
He was born in Galetta, Ontario, Canada on October 19, 1931. His family moved to Ottawa in 1935. He attended Kent Public School and Lisgar Collegiate Institute. At graduation he won the Hardie scholarship in Greek to York College but chose instead to accept a scholarship to Columbia College in N.Y., where he earned the BA, MA, and his PhD in 1962.
In June 1953, he married Mary Ann McNeil of Jackson, Miss. They were married for almost 65 years.
He taught Political Science at the Baruch School of City College, Middlebury College, and Millsaps College and Political Science and Computer Science at Texas Tech University, Tougaloo College, and Earlham College from which he retired to begin a career as a consultant with expertise in social science and computer analysis. He wrote two college level textbooks, An Introduction to Political Parties, and People, Politics and Policies.
What would he want to be remembered for? Above else, he would want to be remembered for his teaching. Every year he taught, some declared that he was the best teacher they had ever had. One student gave him the highest compliment, when he said Gordon had taught him the beauty of a well-made English sentence.
He would also want to be remembered for the analysis he did of the election data which supported the claims of minority claimants, African-American, Indian, Chicanos, women, and others that existing election arrangements, especially the use of at-large elections, denied minority plaintiffs an equal opportunity with all others to elect candidates of their choice. His standing to make the claim, was supported by a US Supreme Court decision in May of 1977 that acknowledged his expertise. He was successful in pursuing those claims in dozens of cases between 1972 and 1996.
He would also want to be remembered for a study that he and his wife Mary Ann undertook in 1964 of the programming of television and radio stations in Jackson, Miss., which were accused of highly discriminatory programming against African-American listeners. The federal court suit which followed led to a landmark court decision, which resulted in a denial of the license to station WLBT, the replacement of the station's ownership and a radical change in the station's programming for the better.
In 1995, he met the world-renowned pianist Angela Hewitt. He was in her father's boys choir at Christ Church Cathedral. He and Angela developed a close relationship that continued right up until the time of his death.
He was predeceased by his parents, Walter and Annie Henderson; siblings, Lorne, Earl, Clifford, and Harold Henderson, Dorothy Grummett; and infant daughter, Abigail.
In addition to his wife, he leaves three children, Eve Bostic (Jim) of Spencer, W.Va., Sara Scheuch (Jonathan) of New London, N.H., and Martha Bennett (Joe) of Avondale Estates, Ga. He also leaves behind six grandchildren, Stephanie, Kate, Eric, Patrick, Abby, and Wyatt.
A service of remembrance will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations may be addressed to: Columbia College Fund, 622 W 113th St., MC 4530, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10025.
Arrangements are in the care of John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer, W.Va.
Condolences may be expressed online at www.taylorfuneralhomeinc.com