William “Bill” C. Henderson, age 76, of AuTrain,Mich., and formerly of Nye, Mont., died Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, surrounded by his loving family, at the UP Health Systems Marquette, following a lengthy illness.
Bill was born on Nov. 20, 1940 in Chester, S. C. to the late Roy and Mitte Delene (Hewitt) Henderson. His family moved from the north to the south and back north again settling in Detroit where Bill graduated from Mackenzie High School. As a young man he traveled out West with some friends and fell in love with the Rocky Mountains and knew he had to live there. He married Judith A. Robertson on June 28, 1968, and together they started their family.
In 1971, Bill followed his dream of the Rockies and moved his family to Nye, Mont., where they bought their home and a gas station. While watching his daughter and niece sell worms to fisherman of the Stillwater Valley in his front yard like a lemonade stand, Bill realized there was an opportunity for a business. He and Judy started the Happy Hooker Bait Company, first selling locally, then selling crawlers wholesale across Montana and Wyoming. They eventually sold the bait business and focused solely on their store the Nye Trading Post, sometimes referred to as the “Nye Mall” being the only store for seventeen miles.
Bill was a founding member of the Nye Fire Department, and enjoyed building, woodwork, and hunting. Although he lived in a supreme fishing area and had access to all the bait he needed, he did not fish, but was not afraid to give advice to anyone who asked for it. In 2014, Bill and Judy sold the store and moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to AuTrain. Bill began attending St. Therese Mission in AuTrain, and grew to admire Fr. Chris and the traditions of the church, which provided a lasting influence in his life.
Bill is survived by his wife of over 48 years, Judy of AuTrain; daughter and son-in-law, Sherry and Ron Peterson of Lancaster, Calif.; grandchildren Cady (Beux) Dmitrich, and Taylor and Alex Peterson; brother Robert (Jane) Henderson; sister Janet Elwood; sister-in-law Jayne Henderson; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Delene; son Sean M. Henderson and brother John D. Henderson.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated by Father Chris Gardner at St. Therese Mission in AuTrain, Mich. on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, at 2:30 p.m. Interment will be at the Nye Cemetery in Montana at a later date. Bill’s obituary and guestbook may be viewed and signed at www.bowermanfuneralhome.net.