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Milton  E.  Henderson, M.D.

Obituary for Milton E. Henderson, M.D.

August 23, 1927 - May 10, 2019
Melrose, Massachusetts | Age 91


A longtime resident of Melrose, Massachusetts, Dr. Milton E. Henderson passed away at home on Friday, May 10, 2019, at age 91; he was predeceased by his beloved wife, Donna. Dr. Henderson was born in Vinalhaven, Maine and grew up in Farmington, Maine, where his father, the Reverend Albert George Henderson (originally from Aberdeen, Scotland), was the pastor at the Henderson Memorial Baptist Church, named posthumously in his father's honor. His mother, Margaret (Curran) Henderson, was from Nova Scotia, Canada. Milton was graduated from Farmington High School in 1945 and enlisted in the United States Navy toward the end of the war at age 18; he lost his father shortly thereafter. Milton was graduated from Bates College in 1950.

Dr. Henderson was also predeceased by his sister Beatrice (Henderson) Mitchell and her husband, Dr. Chester Mitchell of Wilton, Maine and his brother Albert (Bus) Hughes Henderson and his wife Arlene (Crosson) Henderson of New Freedom, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Henderson was a truly devoted husband to his beloved wife, Donna Louise (Golder) Henderson, who was the love of his life and with whom he shared 65 wonderful years of marriage prior to her death in September of 2016. They met at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine where, according to Milton (and others), Donna was "the prettiest girl on campus." After both were graduated from Bates, she in 1949 and he in 1950, they married in 1951. They moved to Massachusetts where he attended Tufts University School of Medicine and was graduated in 1954.

Dr. Henderson continued his medical training at the Chelsea Naval Hospital, in Chelsea, Massachusetts, followed by a fellowship at the Floating Hospital for Children in Boston, and then a surgical residency through the Chelsea Naval Hospital under the late Captain Louis Haynes, M.D. (who was the former physician aboard the USS Indianapolis). Dr. Henderson was also one of the pioneers of freezing blood while working at the United States Naval Hospital Naval Blood Research Laboratory in Chelsea, MA; he co-wrote a medical article with C. Robert Valeri, Frozen Glycerolized Blood, which was published in JAMA in 1966. Dr. Henderson subsequently went into private practice as a surgeon (general and vascular), affiliated primarily with Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, where he served as the Assistant Chief of Surgery, then the Chief of Surgery, and later as the President of the hospital. Dr. Henderson travelled to India with Dr. Salil Midha, where they volunteered their surgical skills, implanting pacemakers for those in need.

Milton and Donna loved going to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform and were regular season ticket holders for decades, sometimes enjoying as many as three concerts a week. They also enjoyed taking a class each semester at the extension school at Harvard University. They took many classes related to music, including those highlighting specific individual composers. They also took several religious courses, each focusing on one of the many different religions of the world. They studied the works of numerous painters and other masters of the art world, and attended many classes detailing history throughout the ages. Continuing Education was important to both of them; they audited courses at Harvard for 27 years, enjoying 54 classes in total – expanding their love for humanity and the arts.

Milton and Donna travelled thoughout Europe and China, and visited many places within the U.S. including Alaska, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York City, D.C., and Chicago, as well as an extended trip throughout the western states. They travelled repeatedly to Italy and Barbados with their dear friends, Alberto and Marie Fabbri and Russ and Mary Watts, and enjoyed the many dining experiences wherever they landed. Stories of their travels abroad were often told in accordance with their daily culinary adventures.

Dr. Henderson also enjoyed deer hunting in both Maine and Anticosti Island, Canada with his friends, the late George Bissell, M.D. and Alberto Fabbri, M.D., and his dear friend, "Nicky" (John) Manganaro. Nicky, a true friend, called "his best friend Milt" everyday to say hello and make sure everything was always okay.

Most importantly, Milton and Donna were devoted to their ever-expanding family -- to their five children, Susan Henderson Mangubat and her husband Tony of Kona, HI, Albert G. Henderson of Melrose, MA, Christine A. Winton Henderson of Salem, MA, James L. Henderson and his wife Samantha of Jackson, MS, and Elizabeth A. Henderson-Cartledge and her husband David of Malden, MA. Milton and Donna took their children on family trips to Alaska, Florida, Out West, the Virgin Island of St. John, and annual summer family vacations to Lake Webb in Weld, Maine (making the trip every year until their respective deaths). They travelled in England and Scotland with Susan, Tony and Elizabeth; and to Paris and Southern France with Christine and Elizabeth.

Milton and Donna were cherished grandparents to Eleazar (and his wife Kristina), Alindrina (and her husband Mike), Alexander (and his wife Khuyen), Alicia (and her husband Casey), Liz (and her wife Lais), and Milton, Luke, Cash, Sophia, Alasdair, Oliver, and David, as well as additional family members, John Bok and Bunty Gujral. Everyone's friends were always welcomed and beds were always made up for those visiting last minute. Some of their favorite memories were dining out with family and friends as dinner was always filled with joy and laughter, especially while at the Kowloon Restaurant in Saugus, MA.

Despite being married 65 years, Milton would often walk into a room and upon seeing Donna would exclaim with a smile on his face, "there's my girlfriend," to which she would smile and respond, "there's my boyfriend." During their last few years together, they were often heard speaking to each other while tucked into bed (over the baby monitor), saying how much they loved each other. He would often tell her, "the best thing I ever did was to ask you to marry me."

Relatives and friends will gather for a Memorial Service on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 11 a.m., at the First Baptist Church, located at 561 Main Street in Melrose, Massachusetts to honor and remember Dr. Henderson's life. Following the service in Melrose, the family will host a luncheon at the Kowloon Restaurant located at 948 Broadway (Route 1 Northbound), in Saugus, MA.

At their request, Milton's and Donna's ashes have been combined, keeping them eternally together forever. They will be buried on Sunday, July 28, 2019 at the Fairview Cemetery in Farmington, Maine at 11 a.m., after a brief memorial during the regular Sunday-morning Service at the Henderson Memorial Baptist Church at 9:30 a.m. located at 110 Academy Street in Farmington, Maine.

Special thanks to Claire for helping our family for over 35 years, bringing kindness, love, and laughter to us all. Special thanks to Elizabeth N., Rebecca, and Mary for their wonderful care and companionship; and to Gayle, Vickie, and Whitney from Maine – thank you so much for the wonderful care you all provided and for making it possible for our parents to continue to travel up to Webb Lake in the summertime during their final years.

Gifts in Dr. Henderson's memory may be made to the Henderson Memorial Baptist Church, 110 Academy Street, Farmington, Maine 04938, AND the Boston Symphony Orchestra, 301 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.

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