Saturday, June 13, 2009

Goodnight, Jeff

I had that dream again last night, the one where I'd forgotten to go to class for the first couple of weeks of the semester and was late for the day's class. We've all had that dream, but for me it was mostly true. As an undergrad I skipped class frequently, drank a lot of beer and took six years to complete my degree. (I made up for it in graduate school with one B that still rankles.)

Which leads us to Jeff Henderson. I made an A in the first journalism class I took from him. The second class he had to kick me out for not showing up. He did it nicely but firmly. I didn't see much of him again until I became student newspaper adviser at St. Edward's University and started attending the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association conventions. We became reacquainted (I'm not totally sure he remembered me), and in 2004 when I was named TIPA adviser of the year, Jeff handed me the award. Two years ago when my novel came out, he was there asking for an autographed copy and visibly proud to see the success of a former student. He was just that kind of guy.

He died Thursday at the young age of 67. He'd had heart problems dating back to when he was my prof, but I still expected him to make it through. I'll be at his funeral this coming Wednesday and I anticipate a crowd. That's what happens when your life is well lived and you've left little seeds for a lot of people. Jeff's certainly was.


Stacy said...

I love your stories of Jeff. Made me think of people who've been tough on me in wonderful ways. Thanks for sharing this story.

Todd said...

Oh, wow. I took his photography class. Sorry to hear about his passing.