Dr. J. (James) Allan Henderson passed away following a stroke on April 16, 2018, at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital in Hood River, Ore. He was 92 years old. Allan was surrounded by family members and friends at and before his passing. A life-long resident of Hood River, with extended family, friends and medical patients on both sides of the Columbia Gorge, Allan was known and will be missed by many.
Allan was the son of James Warner Henderson, a dentist, and Irene Maren (Larsen) Henderson. Both parents grew up in White Salmon/Bingen, Wash. Allan was very proud of his pioneer heritage in the Columbia River Gorge, a descendant of the Lage, Larsen and Henderson pioneer families that had settled in the Columbia Gorge in the 1860s and ‘70s after traversing the Oregon Trail.
Allan was born in Hood River on Dec. 27, 1925. He attended Hood River schools and graduated from Hood River High School in 1944, where he was Student Body President. He was also active in Boy Scouts (he was an Eagle Scout and later scoutmaster of Troop 382) and ran the community swimming pool for three summers. Allan had one sister, Loree (Henderson) Krieves, who would later marry Frederick (Fritz) Krieves, and they had many good memories. The Dickey Family of White Salmon/Bingen are cousins.
Allan enlisted in the Air Force after high school and went to basic training in Yuma, Ariz., intending to be a pilot. World War II was winding down, however, so he was honorably discharged and then enrolled at University of Washington. He was a member of the SAE fraternity. In college, he met Charlyn Gibson, from San Mateo, Calif. They married in 1950. Allan attended University of Oregon Medical School and graduated in 1953. Allan and Charlyn had three children: James Allan Henderson, Jr. in 1951, Susan Loree Henderson in 1953, and Philip Gibson Henderson in 1955.
Following medical residency and training, Allan and Charlyn moved back to Hood River with their children and set up a family medical practice in 1955. Allan started his sole practice and then recruited Dr. James Wade and Dr. Leonard Hoffman to join he and his father at the Heights Medical Clinic at 11th and June Street. It was a practice with which he would be involved for the next six decades, during which he delivered more than 1,400 babies.
In 1967, Allan remarried to Mary Katherine (Kae) Sommers and took responsibility for helping raise her three children: Roger Philip Jensen, Vikki Lynn Jensen and Jakki Renee Jensen. The family and extended family had many great experiences together, including trips to Wallowa Lakes, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Oregon beaches.
Allan was active in both local and state medical organizations. He was a past president of the Oregon Academy of Family Practice and the Oregon Medical Association (1984). In 1988, he entrusted his medical practice to Dr. James Brauer, who still practices medicine from the same office.
After retirement from general practice, Allan traveled with Northwest Medical Teams to several dangerous or impoverished places in the world, including Rwanda, Somalia, Haiti and Moldova, to provide essential medical services for refugees. He also assisted with surgeries for many years with other doctors, led medical education, and provided flight physicals for hundreds of local and international pilots. He continued this “post retirement” service until he was 87 years old!
Beyond medicine, Allan and Kae spent a lifetime farming pears and apples on Hood River’s West Side. Allan farmed with his father for many years and was a member of Diamond Fruit Growers. He had a passion for grafting trees and the science of agriculture, and grew a variety of apples, cherries and pears. He had particular acreage of his farm dedicated to unique species which he hand-cultivated. Allan was also on the board of directors for Farmers Irrigation District for many years.
Allan was an active community member. He was the past president of the Hood River Rotary Club and a member for over 50 years and a member of the Hood River Elks Club. He was active in many community organizations, including the Hood River Art Museum and the Historical Museum. He was a past Boy Scout Troop 382 Scoutmaster, Little League coach and volunteered at the WAAAM museum and the Salvation Army.
Allan loved the outdoors and had many great camping trips with family and ski trips with Kae. He loved hunting and fishing and was a great enthusiast for pheasant, duck and deer hunting, especially on his ranch in Vale, Ore. He was a co-founder of ENVIRON-Metal, Inc., an Oregon-based, non-toxic hunting shot manufacturer based in Sweet Home, Ore.
Allan and Kae were lifelong members of Riverside Community Church and he was on many committees, often serving as moderator. Allan sang in the choir for years, something for which he had a passion and enjoyed immensely. He was honored as the Riverside Churchman of the Year in 1989.
In retirement, Allan and Kae enjoyed travel to many places in America and the world including Europe, Russia, the Middle East, India and Allan’s favorite, Africa, where he loved the wildlife.
Allan’s parents, sister Loree and brother-in-law Fritz, have all pre-deceased him. Allan is survived by his wife Kae; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Jack and Joyce Sommers; his children, Jim (Corina) of Louisville, Ky., Sue (Grady) of Denver, Colo., Phil (Therese) of Bend, Ore., Roger of Portland, Ore., Vikki (Ken) of Hood River, and Jakki (Tom) Portland; six grandchildren, Sarah, Kate, Anne, Jennifer, Jake, and Jaidin; and great-grandchildren, many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Gifts and remembrances are being asked to be given to the Northwest Medical Team, Wounded Warriors, or Pheasants Forever.
Services are scheduled with a viewing at Anderson Funeral Home on April 27 from 4–6 p.m., burial at Idlewild Cemetery on April 28 at 10 a.m. and a funeral and celebration of life at the Hood River Middle School Auditorium on April 28 at 2 p.m.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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