The world lost a great man with the passing of Don Henderlight, 69, of Powell, who left us on Sunday, November 27th for his heavenly home.
Don was beloved by countless people (and dogs) across East Tennessee and beyond for his selfless attitude, big heart, genuineness, ability to put you at ease immediately in his presence, and propensity to make banana bread for many who crossed his path. He was a man of few words, but his thoughtful actions spoke volumes. He worked tirelessly throughout his life to make sure that his friends and family knew they were loved, with the biggest recipient being his daughter, Erin Henderlight, whom he loved more than anything in the world and who loved him just as much in return. His love for her knew no bounds, which he demonstrated in a variety of beautiful ways. He once embarked on a process of helping her install 1500 square feet of hardwood flooring in her house (with a manual nail gun on surprisingly uneven floors) that she promised could be done over Thanksgiving but actually stretched out to countless weekends across two years. And they both loved every minute of it.
Don was a long-time accountant for both Whitson and Stethen-Smith Construction, jobs he committed to with his whole heart, like everything else he did. He was a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee (GBO!) and since the mid 90s served as an usher for football (section YY), men’s basketball (section 117/118/119), women’s basketball, volleyball, and occasionally baseball, which he loved but wished the season started later in the year when it was warmer. For much of his life he was active with various organizations in Halls, including the Halls Republican Club, and was recognized as Halls Man of the Year in 1998 for his charitable efforts.
He is preceded in death by parents Andrew Jack and Willie Mae Henderlight and his best canine friend Elwood B. Henderlight. He is survived by daughter Erin Henderlight, favorite son-in-law Jeff Grimes, and a granddaughter he loved being silly with and we’re sure he is heartbroken to not see grow up, Eleanor Grimes.
He is also survived by his life partner Sharon Keith, her daughter Morgan Keith and brand-new grandson Griffin Dorsey, brother Greg (Tara) Henderlight and family, brother Mark Henderlight, and sister Teressa Conrad. He also leaves behind dozens and dozens of friends who were like family to him. Friends whose yards he’s mowed, whose dogs he’s watched, who have been the recipients of many meals and garden vegetables, and who have been dragged around the country to various Final Fours, regional games, and miscellaneous Vols sporting events.
Friends and family are invited to gather for a Celebration of Don’s Life from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM Saturday, December 3, 2022, at Mynatt Funeral Home, Halls Chapel with a Memorial Service to follow. The Reverends Stephen Doyle and Thomas Sweet will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, Don would want you to honor him by reaching out to tell someone how much you love them, baking banana bread (or key lime pie!) for a friend, going to a Vols basketball game, or letting the dog up on the bed. If, after all that, you still want to do something to celebrate Don’s life, please consider a donation to the Salvation Army or the Cerebral Palsy Center of Knoxville. The world is a bit darker with Don having left us, but those of us who cared about him will continue learning from his example and putting love and generosity into the world.
The family would like to thank everyone who, over the past four years of Don’s illness, supported him through various acts of love and service, including those who gave selflessly at the end.
Condolences can be left for the family at www.mynattfh.com