LaDon "Blondie" Henson a long-time resident and businessman of Mount Vernon passed away Saturday morning, May 4, 2002 at his home after a four and a half year struggle with cancer with his family at his side at the age of 74 years. Known for his commanding presence, quick wit, warmth and integrity, LaDon owned and operated the Chenoweth Garden Center and Mount Vernon Wholesale Nursery from 1951 until his retirement in 1985.
Born to Frances Henson and George Henson on September 26, 1927 in Arkoe, Missouri, LaDon and his family moved to Mount Vernon when he was seven years old. He graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1945. He then achieved state-wide attention by playing four years of varsity basketball at the University of Washington. His coach the first year was Hec Edmundson. He was captain of the team the last two years, capturing third place in the National Collegiate Basketball Championship. Between his freshman and sophomore years at UW, LaDon served two years in the US Army with the Manhattan Engineers. While at UW, he was a member of the Big "W" Club, Oval Club, and Fir Tree Honorary.
He then returned to Mount Vernon to take over the Chenoweth Nursery. In 1958, he built the Chenoweth Garden Center which he operated along with the wholesale nursery until his retirement. Blondie served on the Mount Vernon Planning Commission for ten years, was a lifetime member of the Elks, Lions Club, Skagit Valley Golf & Country Club and a member of the First Baptist Church. For many years he enjoyed fishing, crabbing, traveling, and cruises. He loved cooking his specialties, especially baking bread and applesauce and sharing with family and friends. He had a lifelong love for animals. His greatest enjoyment was his family.
He is survived by his wife and partner in life, Jean Chenoweth Henson whom he met while both were in high school. They were married on September 3, 1948 in the First Baptist Church in Mount Vernon. A loving father and grandfather, he leaves two daughters, Linda Henson of Browns Point, WA and Lori Ruhl and son-in-law Richard Ruhl and his granddaughter and "dutch-baby pal" Kiersti Jean Ruhl of Sedro-Woolley, WA and step-grandson Jason Ruhl of Arlington, VA. A brother Terry Henson of Seattle, WA and sisters Marilyn Henson Valentine and her husband Jim Valentine of Mount Vernon, WA and Barbara Henson Ryberg and her husband Gordon Ryberg of Lopez Island, WA. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Ivogene and her husband Dale Ogle.
Private Family Inurnment Services will be held at the Mount Vernon Oddfellows Cemetery. A Memorial Service and Reception for family and friends will be held Wednesday, May 8, 2002 at 2:00 PM at the First Baptist Church 103 North 5th Mount Vernon with Pastor Ron Deegan officiating. Memorials are suggested to First Baptist Church, Skagit Hospice, or North Puget Oncology Cancer Care at Skagit Valley Hospital. Arrangemnents and Services under the care of Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley.