Kathleen Gowen Henderson, age 69, made her heavenly bound journey home and stepped into the glory of our Lord on Thursday, August 23, 2018. She was a caring mother, a committed teacher and follower of Jesus Christ. Born and raised in West Palm Beach Florida, she was a sixth-generation Floridian and had a love for Florida. In 1971, she married Tom Henderson and they were married for 35 years. She is survived by her two sons, Scott and wife Betsy Henderson of Knoxville, TN, David and wife Leigh Ann Henderson of Fort Lauderdale, and her grandchildren, Abigail (10), Logan (9), Daniel (8) and Molly (7). She is also survived by her brother Jerry and wife Patty Gowen and their children Corey and Coral and her sister-in-law Billie Fletcher.
Kathy was a proud member of the Marching Chiefs at Florida State University and the president of her sorority. After graduation from FSU, she started teaching and left her mark with thousands of students over the course more than 30 years. She lived all over Florida and in Sunnyvale, CA. In 1984, she moved with her family to Fort Lauderdale and found her home. Between Bayview Elementary School and First Presbyterian Church, Kathy was loved by many friends that cared about her. She had some of the most amazing, long-lasting and deepest friendships.
Kathy’s family was the most important thing to her and she loved celebrating life with her children and grandkids. She often took trips with her grandchildren, loved to babysit them and she never forgot a birthday or a memorable event as long as it was written down in her book.
In 1987, Kathy started teaching at Bayview Elementary School and taught just about every grade including the Gifted Program. She had a passion for developing students and continued to serve after her formal retirement, substitute teaching until the day she died. Teaching young children was a rewarding experience for her and a gift from God she used every day. If you walked through Publix or went trick or treating with her in Coral Ridge, it would take forever because of how many people wanted to stop her to talk. She touched so many people in our community.
At First Presbyterian Church, she was a fixture pouring her heart into so many ministries from the Stephens Ministry, the Crown Financial Classes, helping to organize the Labyrinth at Easter and also serving on the Church Session, but she was a Deacon at heart. The church Deacons serve others and that’s what she loved. Kathy had a servant’s heart and was selfless with it came to the giving of her time, talents and gifts.
Kathy loved Christmas and spending it with her family. She had the longest Christmas list. She would tutor kids, work summer school or run the after-school program to save money to buy Christmas gift for so many people. She was so fair with her own kids that she would buy two of every gift, one blue for Scott and one green for David.
Her hobbies were reading and traveling. In the summer, she would read every day and often stay up late to finish a novel. She traveled all over America. She also loved traveling to Europe and around the world. Some of the most memorable trips included the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Israel and so many other places. She passed her love of travel onto her kids.
Kathy’s legacy will live on through her children and grandchildren, but also through the many students she helped throughout the years. She lived a life of service through God, her family and church with a passion, love and tenacity for everyone.
The service to celebrate Kathy’s life will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, August 29th at 4pm. There will be an open reception in the Fellowship Hall immediately following. In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to make a donation to the FSU Marching Chiefs.
First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale, 401 SE 15th. Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301