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R. Marion Henderson

A Christian, a wife, and a mother, a journalist, a traveler all describe Marion Henderson who died Saturday, September 1, 2018 at Heritage House in Atlantic, IA. She was born June 28, 1925 in Elko, Nevada to Ruth and A. E. Cahlan. A year later the family moved to Las Vegas, NV where her father was managing editor of the Las Vegas Evening Review Journal. She graduated from Las Vegas High School in 1942. In later years she enjoyed the Las Vegas High School Reunions each fall.

In 1944 she married Milton Henderson, an officer at Nellis Air Force Base, and when he was discharged they moved to Mount Ayr, IA, where Milt worked for the Extension Service and later a lay pastor for the United Methodist Church. Their four children were born and raised there. She was a big supporter of her children’s activities and especially enjoyed the sporting events.

Milt passed away in 1990 and she lived in Mount Ayr until 1997 when she became legally blind and moved to Atlantic, IA to be near son and daughter-in-law Bruce and Gail Henderson.

Marion carried on the family tradition as a journalist and was a reporter for the Mount Ayr Record News. Two of the highlights were interviews with actress Hillary Swank and astronaut Peggy Whitson. Marion’s last writing was personal as she composed most of this obituary.

She became an active Christian at about age 5 and her faith was an important part of the rest of her life. She took leadership roles in local, district, and conference levels of the United Methodist Church and as a lay pastor’s wife.

An activity which was always fun for her was going to the Drake Relays with extended family including Milt’s brothers and families and later grandchildren. After coming to. Iowa she attend all but two years.

Her grandmother, Marion E. Cahlan, loved to travel and was a great influence on Marion. Her father had a love of traveling and started her on her goal of visiting all 50 states which she accomplished. She also toured Russia and Scandinavia with daughter Susan. The Russia trip in 1998 was really special as this was a time of transition in Russia. Her brother, Forest Cahlan, gave her the trip of her choice for her 70th birthday. She and son, Pat, toured Alaska by car and put on 2000 miles of awe inspiring scenery.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Milt on March 5, 1990; and her brother, Forest Cahlan.

Survivors include daughter Susan Lidey of Las Vegas, NV, and three sons Bruce (Gail) of Atlantic, IA., David (Sara) of Bartlett, IL, and Patrick (Kelli) of Lexington, KY. Grandchildren Josh Lidey, Scott Henderson (Beth), Todd Henderson (Julia Hartwig), Brad Henderson (Michelle), Holly Marquez (Randy), and Jeff (fiancé Kelsey). Great-grandchildren are Gianna Lidey, Amelia, Beckett, Matilda, and Hope Henderson, and Natalie Marquez.

A visitation will be held at the Heritage House in Atlantic, IA on Thursday, September 6 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a service of remembrance beginning at 4:00 p.m.

On Friday, September 7, a visitation will be held at the Mount Ayr United Methodist Church from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. with a memorial service beginning at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr.

Memorials are to the Mt. Ayr United Methodist Church or P.E.O. Educational fund.


Atlantic, Iowa Services: Heritage House in Atlantic

Thursday, Sept 6: Visitation 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm with program at 4:00 pm

Mount Ayr, Iowa Services: Mount Ayr United Methodist Church

Friday, Sept 7: Visitation 9:00 am – 10:00 am with service at 10:00 am

Burial: Rose Hill Cemetery – Mount Ayr

Memorials: United Methodist Church - Mt Ayr or P.E.O. Educational Fund

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of R. Henderson, please visit our flower store.


Susie, I am sorry to learn of your mother's death, it is not easy to be an orphan no matter what our age. I remember many fun times with you walking to town from school. Good memories. I know your mind is full of so many good memories of your mom. I pray those treasured times and the loving arms of Jesus sustain you now and in the days ahead. Your old, and I do mean old, friend Charlene

Charlene Greene Sep 7 2018 12:00 AM

My sympathy to the Henderson family - especially my son-in -law Pat -I and all of my family had the pleasure of getting to know Marion over the years -she was always a joy to be with and a true lady -

Winnie Stevens Sep 7 2018 12:00 AM

Bruce and Gail, so sorry for your loss. I always remember your mother and how she supported you with all your family with 4-H projects and everything you were involved in. A great christian lady. God Bless, you are in my prayers

Jon Foley Sep 4 2018 12:00 AM

Susan, Josh, & Gianna Our Sincere sympathy to you and you family for the loss of Your Mother God Bless Laura Diana & Michael Chir

Laura & Diana Chir Sep 3 2018 12:00 AM

Bruce and Gail - You have our sympathy! Losing a parent is hard no matter their age. Lori thought a lot of Marion and enjoyed her in some Y classes. No doubt you have many wonderful memories that will be special and help with your sorrow! Hugs Bob and Marilyn Younger

Bob and Marilyn Younger Sep 3 2018 12:00 AM

Marion will live on in our treasured memories. When she moved to Atlantic, our kids were students and athletes of Bruce's, so we would take her with us to all the meets, where she took her place as cheerleader from the finish line for cross-country and track. She was there to cheer, not only for the runners, but as a Mom to support her son's calling as a coach. Intelligent. Articulate. Well-read. Curious. Faith-FILLED, taking great joy in her history with the Methodist Church. Always inclusive. Never, ever whiny, even as her eyesight faded her views of the visual world. Able to take-and deliver -a joke, Marion was delightfully FUN! A P.E.O. Sister. A woman who loved life and ADORED her family. Our prayers are with all the Henderson family during this transition time of Marion to memory. Thanks be to Jesus, we'll meet again to have stimulating conversation over wine and cheese!

Kim and Frank Spillers Sep 3 2018 12:00 AM

We look forward to seeing Marion alive again in the resurrection. Jesus promised, "Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out to a resurrection." John 5:28, 29

Jim & Donna Adams Sep 3 2018 12:00 AM

So very sorry to,hear about Marion. Always remember them at church with their family and she had a standing appointment at my beauty shop every week, when I had my shop in Mt, Ayr. We send our condolences and love to her family and loved ones.

Janet Barker Knedler Sep 2 2018 12:00 AM

We are so sorry to read the notice of Marion's passing. I grew up as a backyard neighbor to the Henderson's. Bruce is a classmate as well. I have many wonderful memories of Marion and her family. Our thoughts and prayers to all the family. John and Kathy

John McFarland Sep 2 2018 12:00 AM