Edward (Red) Dale Henderson passed away peacefully on Tuesday morning, May 3, 2022. He was born in Drain, Oregon, September 30, 1942. He is survived by his wife Cindy, children Dean (Mia) Henderson, Tara (Jim) Fredrickson, Angie (Todd) Barbour, Rocky (Jennifer) Smith, and Greg Knox. He is also survived by his brothers Gil and Nealan Henderson and numerous nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents Dempsey and Marie Henderson, his sister Francis Cowan, and his brothers Nolan and David Henderson.
Dale grew up and went through school in Drain, Oregon, then proudly served in the United States Air Force. Following his honorable discharge, he began his first career encompassing over 30 years in Air Traffic Control. In 1990, he moved from his role in management at the Seattle Regional Office, to the Air Traffic Manager for the Billings Airport Traffic Control Tower and Radar Approach Control in Billings, Montana, including assignment as second level oversight and management as the HUB Manager for the ATCT’s and RAPCON’s at Great Falls, Helena, and Missoula MT, as well as Casper, WY. In addition, he was responsible for oversight and support for ATC Services provided by the privately operated Gillette, WY, ATCT.
Following his retirement from the FAA in 1994, he began a second career that covered another 25 years as a consultant and expert witness concerning aircraft accidents and incidents involving ATC in approximately 100 cases, testifying in 50 depositions, and 12 trials worldwide.
Dale deeply loved Montana, his home, his family, his Aussies, and the million stars that fill the Montana sky. In true retirement, he treasured sitting on his back deck with a glass of wine and a crackling fire. He loved history, airplanes, art, old movies, good books, and a truly excellent scotch (thank you, Mark!) For 32 years, we shared life and love and challenges. I will miss him terribly.
So many memories, so many wonderful family and friends … Dad – Big Red, Redman, and the Red Hombre; Grampa 4-Wheeler; Big Red cinnamon gum; Cows – chasing, herding, branding, inoculating, preg-testing; Taking the end of his finger to the hospital in a cooler when it got caught in a cow gate; Late night conversations with Grampa; 3-North for a beer; “Got the huuuungries for your love, and I’m waitin’ in your welfare line”; Building a ‘52 MG for Cindy; Dean’s birthday cake for the wedding; Sharing late nights on the deck by the fire; “That be true”; Throwing kids off the end of dock into the lake; First Montana horse – retired race horse, ran like a bat; Second Montana horse resting his head on Dad’s shoulder while he worked; Auto-maintenance training; Flying lesson – for a son who fell asleep in the right chair; Teaching cadet grandson how to properly shine his shoes; Montana dream dog - Aussie; Roo, Sheila, Two, Whimsy; Peadle-wheezer, the Dachshund; Air Traffic controllers – friends for life; Attorneys and barristers – friends for life; Keller – miles of wheat fields then drop down into summer heaven; Captain Scratch ate the shower curtain in Ross’s trailer; Persian cats – Mogul, Sweet Baby Girl, and Fats - the registered male? ooops!; Snow ski trips; Cat flea dips; Designing the etched window; Living on the lake, teaching kids to ski, some rockstars, some not so much; Grandson candy in his pocket for Tim’s funeral; Boys driving the boat, some got it, some watched the motor jump, drop, and sink; A Red Hat for Laurel Aviation Week; Fish tanks; the Redman van; Homemade sauerkraut; Keller – trip to Electric City emergency room to sew up cut lip; Fried chicken and pan gravy; Adam’s Buzz “Witeyear” for Christmas; Sons’ Weekend – the last surprise; Moving into new Montana dream home, deep snow, -52 degrees; “Colder than a welldigger’s ass”; Changing his license plate in Montana from “Redman” to “Rdhmbre”; Limited edition prints; The Adam dance; Mustard greens & quince; Go-to guy to repair, replace, or build from scratch – do anything, for anyone; “Since ol’ Buck was a calf”; Listening to stories about his cases; Demp’s homemade wine mixed w/RC Cola; Red’s homemade southern cornbread; HoundCentral; Fountain Dr Pepper, lots of ice, then add salted peanuts; Grandsons’ dance lessons on back deck; Non-stop water-skiing - pulling kids; Scotcharoos and Oatmeal Flat Bread; Chips and homemade salsa; The Gambler’s hat and the 4 of hearts.
Interment at Yellowstone National Cemetery will be Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 1300 hours (that’s Red talk for 1 pm.)
Yellowstone National Cemetery
55 Buffalo Trail Road
Laurel, MT 59044
A block of rooms is being held for out-of-town family/friends – re: Henderson Funeral – contact:
2036 Overland Ave
Billings MT 59102
A casual reception immediately following the service will also be at the Quality Inn, in their meeting room.
Memorial contributions may be made to:
Riverstone Hospice Foundation
123 S. 27th Street
Billings MT 59101
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Edward "Red" Dale Henderson, please visit our floral store.