Harold Gordon McHenry, 87, departed this life Wednesday, January 27, 2021, at home in the presence of his loving family. He was born a twin on September 18, 1933, to Dwight and Fern (Heiser) McHenry. His twin sister, Rosemary, was stillborn.
He graduated from Morton Community High School in 1951 and joined the Air Force, where he served for five years as an aircraft engine mechanic and instructor. He worked on the first airplanes adapted for aerial refueling and was placed in charge of a crew of mechanics.
Upon returning to Morton, Harold began his career at Caterpillar. Due to a recession, he was laid off and returned to the Air Force in 1957. He was transferred to France as crew chief (C47s), then Athens, Greece as engine mechanic on cargo planes (C130s). While there, Harold adopted his infant son Leroy. Discharged from the Air Force in 1963, he drove a semi-tractor-truck, then returned to Caterpillar, where he worked in the tool room as a builder and machinist. He retired in 1992 from tool design then worked for Design Systems in Morton.
Harold volunteered as a construction worker on several church building projects. He graduated with a Bachelors of Theology from Illinois Missionary Baptist Institute and Seminary (IMBI) in 1971. This four-year program was completed while also working the third shift at Caterpillar.
Harold served as deacon at the First Baptist Church in Morton, where he taught Sunday school classes and filled pulpits for Southern Baptist pastors when they went on vacations. Part of his compensation was a German Shepherd named Schultz.
Harold also taught Divorce Care classes and Sunday school classes for fourth-grade boys at Grace Evangelical Church in Morton. In 2001 he was sent by Grace EMC to the Albania Bible Institute as building manager along with his wife Norma, who served as bookkeeper. He also taught classes to young church leaders throughout the country. His mechanical skills and knowledge were particularly useful because most equipment and machines in Albania were vintage 1940’s.
He loved to work with stained glass and made beautiful windows and lamps as well as sun catchers. Loving planes as he did, he obtained his private pilot's license and was a member of the Bradley flying club. After he stopped flying, he continued to enjoy flight simulators.
Harold loved spending time with his family. The grandkids and great-grandkids all loved going to Papaw's house.
Harold is survived by his wife Norma, his daughter Kristen McHenry, her children, Joshua, Bryana, and Hannah Compton; his daughter in law Joanne McHenry, and her son Steven. He is also survived by his sister Mick Huette from Arizona and his brother David (Mary) McHenry from Illinois. He also leaves four great-grandchildren: Anthony, Ejay, Dalyn, and Charlie. He was preceded in death by his mother, Fern Heiser McHenry, his father, Dwight McHenry, his son, Leroy McHenry, and his brother in law, Gene Huette. His sister, Alice Hand, passed away three hours after Harold’s passing.
Cremation rites have been accorded. A Celebration of Harold's life will be at a later date. A private burial will also be held at Hillcrest Memory Gardens in rural Morton. To share a memory or send a condolence to his family, visit www.masonfuneralhomes.com. Mason-White Funeral Home in Washington is assisting the family with arrangements.
To send flowers to Harold's family, please visit our floral store.