Thomas H. Henley, Jr. or “T.H. or Ted” as he was affectionately known, was born to T.H. Henley, Sr. and Rodessa Henley on April 11, 1943, in Gholson, Texas. T.H. was saved as a child at Gholson Church of God in Christ, where he was a member throughout his childhood. T.H. had five brothers, Hollis, Clintell “Clint”, Nelson (Ernestine), Ronnie, and Rex; and three sisters, Valory (David), Cynthia “Niece” (Kenneth), and Marsha. Hollis, Clint, Ronnie, and Marsha all preceded T.H. in heavenly transition.
T.H. attended Dunbar High School in West, Texas, and was a key member of the Dunbar Dragons State Football Champions in 1959. T. H. married his bride, Dorothy “Dot” Henley, on April 1, 1965, to whom he was faithfully married for 57 years until his heavenly transition. There were three children produced by their union Thomas Henley, III (Kim), Darryl (Merina) and Eric (Yolanda). T.H and Dot also have nine grandchildren, Arielle, Lauren, and Joshua (Thomas); Gia (Darryl); and Amaya, Erica, Rodney Harris, Samone Harris and Tacoya (Eric).
Shortly after his son, Thomas was born, T.H. moved his family to Los Angeles, California where he first worked at Western Union delivering envelopes on a bicycle to support his wife and newborn son. He was soon hired by Lockheed Martin, where he worked for almost 30 years. T.H. has also been actively involved in his local church, first at Union Baptist Church in Monrovia, CA where he was ordained a deacon in 1977. He also attended Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Ontario, CA where he was Chairman of the Deacon Board and was most recently a deacon at Word of Life Christian Church in Waco, TX where he has served for the last 20 years.
T.H. was a passionate advocate of education and diligently pressed his children, and his wife, to finish college. His wife, Dorothy, was the first in the family to obtain a college degree which she obtained in 1984, followed by each of his three boys (Thomas from Stanford University, Darryl from UCLA, and Eric from Rice University). Not wanting to be the only family member without a college degree, and seeking to practice what he preached, T.H. went back to college and obtained his college degree in 1997 from the University of Phoenix.
T.H. was always highly involved in his local California community where he coached Pop Warner football, Little League Baseball, and Track & Field. T.H. not only had a love of sports, but he had a love for people, especially kids. He was well known throughout his local community because he was more than a coach for so many young athletes - he served as a counselor, mentor, and even father figure for hundreds of athletes. Even up until the time of his passing, his student-athletes consistently express their love and appreciation of Coach T.H. His success in bringing out “the best” in his players led to great success, but more importantly, it left a lasting mark on his players. His success led to the opportunity for him to coach high school Football and Track & Field at Duarte High School, where he coached for a number of years, followed by being a college coach, where he was a Football and Track & Field coach at Pomona-Pitzer University in Claremont, CA.
Coach T.H.’s impact was exemplified in the year 2000 before he moved to Waco, TX when dozens of ex-players and supporters coordinated a celebration “service” where they told stories from decades earlier about their experiences with Coach T.H. and presented him with an Honorary Masters of Educational Counseling award from the “Duarte Family” - the award stated “Thank You For Being A Good Husband, Father, Mentor, Role Model And Friend”.
T.H. leaves behind a strong mark and lasting legacy having impacted the lives of so many – first and foremost in Godly Kingdom building; also, in being the strong patriarch and family leader, and in enhancing and enriching the lives of the many people he came into contact with.
The Henley Family celebrates the rich and lasting legacy of Thomas “T.H.” Henley, Jr.