Below is a letter from Gene's Son Mark, sent out shortly after the passing of his father:
Dear Rallist: One of the current founding fathers of rally passed quietly today (4-6-05) at approx. 9:30 am. Gene Henderson was in ill health recently and after falling at his home a month ago. He passed while in the care of Oakwood Hospital here in Dearborn. He was on a DNR at the time of passing. The night before last was the last time I had a good conversation with him and we had talked about the MoonLight Monte this past weekend. When we last spoke, I told him I loved him and said goodbye not knowing that this might be the last time to speak to him while he was alert. I saw him last night but he was not with us in mind and I again told him I loved him and said goodbye. It was was this morining while at work that I received the call that I was expecting that the world of rallye as we know it had shuttered and shook with disbelief that he was no longer with us. Rallye life will go on, but it will not be running like a finely tuned rallye car for a little while. My mother is getting better and will be moving into Dearborn in a few months near me and my wife and my brother and his wife. I am thinking about a memorial party later in the summer or fall in his honor at a banquet hall. This will be a pay benefit type of a food and drink thing with lots of stories to be told and I would like to have it recorded on tape with sound. I am already getting offers of help with this party.
My Dad (I think) touched a lot of lives of rallist through the years and I think he brought a lot of good and changes to the sport both PRO and TSD. Who remembers the "Whitmore Lake Concord" (rules changes meeting held at the best western motel in Whitmore Lake,Mi in the year 2000) when we had 40 of the top guns of rally show up to make rule changes in TSD? Who remembers my dad coming up with the club called "Friends of P.O.R." and the jackets and hats that were passed out and the newsletters? Who remembers "Competitive Line" newsletter he pumped out each month talking about all the current rallies here and abroad? Who remembers the "Volvo Viking" car club which became the "Ralligators, Inc." that he was a senior and founding member of? Who was the one who wanted to preserve the name of "P.O.R." by running a drag race with service vehicles on the eve the "Marquette 1000" in 1976 in order to keep the POR name in force so that the SCCA could not take the POR name and give it to another region? Who was there to preserve all injustices and keep things on a level keel and let cooler heads prevail during crisis in moments in rallying? Who stayed out of the limelight when praise was being handed out for a job well done. Who talked to novice rallist (as part of his business of course) for long hours to recieve proper instruction on equipment? Who gave of his time freely to help with many PORs and put the rallye on and so many others such as Dawnbuster, Moonlight Monte. Who was the "cop on sight" when we needed to know the "laws" of driving in Michigan when at rallies? Gene wore many hats in the sport of rally racing. I was glad that I prompted the article in "SportCar" that was written recently. I wanted my dad's story told before something happened to him. I'll be in touch. Sincerely Mark D. Henderson (# 2 son of Gene Henderson)