Obituary of Brian Charles Henderson
Brian passed away peacefully on Christmas Eve after a long courageous battle with leukemia. A formidable storyteller, history buff and baseball fan – his legacy will live on thanks to the many stories he told that will never be forgotten.
He is survived by his adoring wife and best friend (Mary) Joanne (nee Peace) after 45 years of marriage and his greatly loved daughter Ashley Elizabeth Burger, son-in-law Paul and grandchildren, Audrey Grace and Isaac Arthur, all of Toronto. Uncle to Kirra and Rhea Peace and brother-in-law Ken Peace of Toronto. He will be greatly missed by many cousins, particularly Bill Cuming and Gloria McCreary of London, many friends, and his ‘adopted’ daughter Val Sagle Conway of Ottawa.
He was predeceased by his parents Charles Hamilton and Zylda May Henderson of Toronto, originally from Whitechurch and Lucknow, and his greatly loved sister-in-law Andrea Maureen Peace who passed in September 2021.
Brian grew up by the Scarborough Bluffs, later living in various neighbourhoods across the city, and eventually settling in Markham with his family. His favorite childhood memories were with his adored grandparents in Lucknow, playing with cousins. He loved hiking in the forests with his Dad, playing catch with his Mom, and playing hockey with Paul Henderson, no relation, in Lucknow.
Brian and Joanne met at Rothmans many years ago while Brian was with Dunhill and Joanne was with Canadian Breweries. He persisted with offerings of coffee and chocolate chip cookies before Joanne agreed to a date to watch Dames at Sea – and the rest was history.
Brian was a distribution and warehouse manager for many years working at Imperial Oil, Hubbell Canada and Bio-Lab Canada before retiring at 63 years of age. He was a great mentor, unwaveringly organized, and Mr. Health and Safety – just a few of his characteristic traits that will never be forgotten.
Brian was Mr. Baseball. He followed the Blue Jays and other teams faithfully. He anxiously awaited spring training every year, and could rhyme off baseball statistics and facts to anyone who would listen. A highlight a few years ago was sitting in the front row at a Blue Jays game with his wife, daughter and granddaughter, thanks to tickets generously gifted by family friends.
He also played and coached baseball for many years, and he always taught the kids that the most important thing was to have fun. He was a long-time mentor for many of his players, with many staying in touch for many years.
He was also a remarkable music buff and throughout the pandemic spent many hours video chatting with Audrey teaching her about artists from every possible genre. They loved listening to and watching music videos together, and Audrey would sing and perform for him all the time.
He was an armchair travel buff, planning many trips all over the world. He particularly loved train trips and over the past few years watched many YouTube videos of young couples sailing the world. He loved Walt Disney World and was up-to-date on all the exhibits and hotels, and remembered his past trips fondly. He also adored annual vacations taken many years ago to Sauble Beach, as well as trips to Barbados and Florida.
Family was everything to Brian. He talked constantly of his two adored grandchildren, laughing at their antics and wondering what they would be when they grew up. Even when he was unwell, he went out of his way to play with them, show an interest in their stories, and do everything he could to let them know they were loved. In earlier days he would attend every music performance, swimming practice and sports game of Ashley’s – unconditional love and support were his trademarks.
Above all, Brian was a kind, caring, compassionate gentleman with an infectious smile and generous heart. He laughed freely and was always smiling even when silently struggling with his health. He was a true people person and storyteller.
The family would like to extend their thanks to Dr. Imrie of Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, Dr. Abrahamson of Michael Garron Hospital, Dr. J. Lipton and Dr. K. Yee of Princess Margaret Hospital, and the team at Toronto General Hospital.
In light of COVID-19, a celebration of Brian’s life will be held at a later date.
If you wish to make a donation in Brian’s name, please consider the Sunnybrook Hospital Odette Cancer Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation or The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.
Please keep Brian in your thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace.