Warren Franklin “Frank” Henderson, devoted husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend to many passed peacefully at his home in Camp Verde on Friday, May 2, 2014. Frank is predeceased by his loving wife Mary; survived by his sons Franklin Speer and Kenneth James; and sisters Bettie Nuernberg and Susan Alandar. Born April 17, 1934 in Benton, Kentucky to Clay Warren Henderson and wife M. Jean Faughn, travel (by car) was soon part of the plan for Frank. Almost immediately, the family followed work to Detroit, Michigan, which was also home to Mary’s parents. While there, sister Bettie joined the family; soon after, a move to Monet, Missouri, home of Warren’s folks. Then on to San Antonio, Texas for a few years, and then back to Detroit a month before the WWII, where sister Susan joined the family. Warren began working in the motor city for Hudson, Ford, and GM…likely setting the stage for Frank’s later passion for all things automotive. In 1947, the family moved south (for good) to Sunnyslope, Arizona in the family’s ’37 Chrysler. Well travelled, by this time Frank had attended 7 different schools before hitting the 8 grade. This fact, coupled with growing up in an age favoring vocation and practical experience over education, Frank began to pursue his first (of 3 major) passions. Cars! My, oh my, Frank loved cars. He began his career working at a host of gasoline service stations around town, back when you could actually work on the cars…simply to be around them. It’s been reported he owned 45 cars; maybe more if you factor in the ones he might have won (from you perhaps) while racing for pink slips up and down North Central in the day. Notable ones were the ’57 Plymouth Fury, the ‘59 Chrysler 300, the fully restored ’67 Imperial in the garage today, but perhaps the most significant one was the ’56 Buick Century – The Hard Top, that very same sweet ride jumpstarted his sweet life with a gal he met at Zippy’s Burger Shop in 1954 -- Mary! Enter passion number 2: Mary Ann Hayden and Frank began an on and off courtship, racing together up and down Central, living in the joy of a simpler time. On one of Frank and Mary’s longer cruises, on New Year’s Day 1960, in that Buick Century Hard Top they wound up at the Las Vegas Courthouse –eloping to begin their 54-year marriage together. Enter next passion…Craftsman! Loving math, but hating school after 8 grade Frank almost couldn’t wait to get to work, beginning at the Shell service station at the corner of Central and Dunlap in 1950. The very same year he met his bride to be, with Mary’s encouragement, and while still part time at that same Shell station, Frank went to work driving a delivery truck for PBSW office products. With her support, he rose through the ranks at PBSW for 22 years, growing from delivery truck driver to technician and ultimately to manager for the last 10 of those years. Now being an accomplished businessman, he co-founded G&H Duplicator Repair in 1975. Also successful, its clients ranged from the Washington ISD to Arizona State University. Always a tinkerer… in addition to being a first-rate auto mechanic, Frank was a self-taught carpenter, painter, plumber and electrician. As noted by his sons – who needs a general contractor when you have one in the family? In the later years, along with of course restoring cars, Frank enjoyed building bird houses…scores and scores of them. Craftsmanship may these days be a lost art, but it wasn’t lost on Frank. It was a point of excellence. And pride.
Frank cared so much for his family, taking sons Frankie and Kenny on road trips and family vacations at Christmas nearly every year. And true to form, it usually involved a lot of driving! The 1980 trip to Kentucky in the old Jeep Wagoneer with a bad clutch was, well…certainly memorable. And then that trip to Texas in ’82, when all the family seemed to do was drive. Speaking of Jeeps, Frank was one of the first members of the original Phoenix Jeep Club from 1968 to 1975. Therefore, he was able to continue his affinity for cars and share the love with his young sons. The family enjoyed Jeeping and camping in Greer and the White Mountains, where Mary and Frank were struck by the beauty of Forest Lakes, and bought a cabin. They spent many summers at that cabin, then discovered and purchased the Rim Resort in 1978. Using craftsmanship and management skills acquired over a lifetime, they together restored the Rim Resort, and through the process the boys received the same work ethic Frank was known for. The Rim Resort remains a popular spot for many in northern Arizona; in fact many depend upon it to this day -- they sold in 2003, and retired to Camp Verde, at elevation easier for Mary to bear. Frank follows his wife in passing just two short months after her. At the end of the day, Mary was the passion, and love of his life -- she was the one thing he could not live without. They were married for 54 years when she passed away…and together they will now stay. Services will be held at Bueler Camp Verde Funeral Home, 143 West Arnold Street, Camp Verde, Arizona 2:00pm Saturday, May 10. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Foundation for Blind Children 1235 E. Harmont Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85020. Friends are welcome to leave thoughts and prayers on the AzCentral website and Bueler Funeral Home website.