School 17

Tom Henderson

October 27, 1930 ~ January 24, 2021 (age 90)


Tom Henderson died on Sunday, January 24, 2021 in Goodyear, AZ at the age of 90. Tom was born on October 27,1930 in Bloomington, IL to Paul and Muriel Henderson, the youngest of three children.

Tom graduated from Bloomington High School in 1948. He played football, basketball, and tennis and was a member of the National Honor Society. He went on to attend Illinois State University, from where he graduated in 1952. While at ISU, he played Varsity Tennis for four years and was President of the Letterman's Club. He was later inducted into the ISU Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a collegiate tennis player.

Tom was a long-time resident of Ottawa, IL. He taught History at Ottawa HS and coached tennis, swimming, and basketball. He and his wife Ellie had three children - Debi, Michael, and Tom.

Tom was a highly respected and accomplished tennis coach. His coaching record was an amazing 740-113, helping OHS dominate the NCIC for 47 years. His teams won 47 Sectional championships and earned 17 finishes in the top-8 of the state. These included four 3rd place, one 4th place, one 5th place, one 6th place, five 7th place, and five 8th place finishes. He was recognized as the Illinois tennis Coach of the year in 1972 and again in 2000. He was inducted into the IHSA Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame in 1987. And he was rewarded the rare Lifetime Achievement Award by the Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association (one of only three coaches to ever receive the honor).

Tom married Lyn Ahern of Ottawa in 1980. After retiring from teaching in 1988, he continued to coach Boys and Girls Tennis at OHS. In 2000, Tom and Lyn retired to Goodyear, AZ where they enjoyed many years of sunshine, good friends, tennis, and golf among the Pebble Creek Retirement Community.

Tom is survived by his wife Lyn; his son Tom (Becky) of Libertyville, IL; and his grandson Matt. He is preceded in death by his sister Bettie; his brother Bill; his son Mike; and his daughter Debi.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, AZ  85014.


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