January 8, 1958 - November 16, 2020
The Journey of our Lifetime Hero! William Michael Henderson, affectionately known as “Mike” was born on January 8, 1958, in Sweetwater, TN, to the union of Malcom Henderson and Mary Ratledge. Mary moved to Indianapolis, IN, to make a better life for her family. During this time Mike stayed behind in Sweetwater with his grandparents, Robert and Bertha Ratledge and his “Uncle Bobby.” Mike graduated from Sweetwater High in 1976 and shortly after reunited with his mother who resided in Oak Park, IL. Mike moved to Illinois in 1977, and quickly settled into employment as a salesman. Mike learned many skills and crafts while living in Sweetwater with his Uncle Bobby, therefore, making it very easy to find gainful employment. Legacy…. Mike met the love of his life, his wife, Pamala Ella Harris (Henderson) in Chicago, IL in the year 1983. The two worked hard and enjoyed life together until they welcomed their first born into the world. Candyce Janay was born in 1986 and their second child, Ch’nese Tamira, was born in 1990. Alongside with being devoted parents, they both worked very hard to provide and evolve their family. Mike became the manager for many companies and his entrepreneurship lead him to make a name for himself. He always believed a man must provide for and protect his family, at any and every cost. His determination to have more than he was given as a child and to succeed beyond the odds, drove him to motivate and instill such values in his children. Mike ran a very strict household, which left little room for error. His two girls quickly understood that you must work hard, be obedient, and perform exceptionally in all that you do. Through this type of assertive discipline, he reared two spitting images of himself, a combination of motivation, over achieving, firm, driven and successful young ladies. With his wife, Pam, being an educator and a devout Christian, she was able to model Christian values while remaining firm in a loving manner. Mike was open to being taught; one of his favorite songs being, Teach Me How To Love (Musiq Soulchild). Mike grew to be a phenomenal father as he developed a relationship with God, which molded him into a more compassionate parent. Mike rediscovered Christ in a new way, and everything he touched from then was blessed, he was over-joyed for Christ. Mike played many roles in the church, Carey Tercentenary AME, however, singing was his passion when it came to serving the Lord. He would call each member and even provide transportation to make sure the men’s choir was organized and in attendance. He served on the Trustee Board for many years; he was the man to call if anything needed to be fixed. If Mike wasn’t the handyman, he knew who to call for the job, and a job well done. Pastor would call him for any and everything, and Mike would always get it done. Mike was a Sunday School teacher for the mid-adults and he taught Vacation Bible School for the teen boys. He was a regular attendee in weekly Bible Study until his health took a turn. Mike cooked each year for the annual Reverend in Blue Jeans service, where they barbequed for the community and gave away school supplies. Anybody that knows Mike, knows he was intrigued by and fascinated with cars; he would be driving by and spot a for sale sign on a car and would make a U-turn to go and check it out. He found joy in finding older cars, fixing them up and selling them. His keen eye allowed him to be profitable with this hobby. There was never a time that we can recall where Mike didn’t own at least three vehicles: a luxury car, a work truck and a daily driver. Not only did he know how to see the beauty and value in vehicles, he knew exactly how to maintain them as well. He was a mechanical genius, you could call him and without even seeing the vehicle he could diagnosis it’s problem. It was truly a gift! Right after cars, his second love was fashion. Boy could he dress! His shoes matched his tie, which matched his suit, and shirt precisely. His younger brother, Jerry, follows in his footsteps. When complimented on his appearance, his response is always, “my big bro, Mike, taught me how to dress.” His nephews in Chicago, would always joke and say, “I want to be Uncle Mike sharp.” He would always explain to his girls, because he grew up poor, he now has the need to have an excess of everything, explaining why he owns 15 black shoes, 13 brown and 11 blue ones, not to mention the hat collection that covers the entire wall. As we close, we cannot fail to exemplify and highlight the fight that was in this man. Man did he fight to live, but it wasn’t for himself, it was for his family. Mike fought his last days, and he wanted nothing more than for his grandson, to know him. He called him Poppee! A brief overview of his medical history………. He underwent brain surgery in June 2019 to be discharged the day his youngest daughter, Ch’nese, went into labor. He was immediately driven to Georgia by his oldest daughter, Candyce, to make it just in time for his grandson’s birth. During his recovery he was in and out of the hospital, just to be re-admitted in March 2020 for heart failure. This is when his kidneys and lungs were also damaged, and where his Congestive Heart Failure progressed to “end stage” heart failure, resulting in him being put on life support and given 3 months to live. He surpassed all expectations, time and time again- Look at God! Fast-forward to his final flight, he celebrated his grandson’s first birthday, June 26, 2020 and two months before his passing he was able to walk his daughter, Ch’nese, down the aisle. He was so determined to live, that he took a ten-hour bus ride to Cleveland, OH (Cleveland Clinic) to receive help from the #1 rated hospital for heart failure. Here he fought long and hard, until his final breath on November 16th at 6:07pm. We can mourn his death, but Mike would much rather we celebrate his life. Mike leaves behind a long legacy that will not be forgotten. Preceding him in death: Robert and Bertha Ratledge (Grandparents), Mary and Jerome Lankford (mother and step-father), Malcolm Henderson (father), siblings: Jeffrey, Keith and Mark Lankford and a host of special aunts, uncles and cousins. He leaves behind: Pamala Ella (wife), two daughters, Candyce Janay and Ch’nese Tamira (Christopher Todd), Christopher Michael (grandson), siblings: Charles “Kippy” Brown ( Deon), Sandra Brown, Tonya Stigall (Gary) and Robert “Jerry” Lankford (Regina “Chicken”), and a special cousin Norma “Kay” Bryant and a host of other close family members and friends. The family will receive friends on Friday, November 26, 2020, at Kyker Funeral Homes from 10 am until 12 pm with the funeral service to being at 12 pm with Rev. Walter C. Harris, Sr., Rev. Sam Brown and Rev. Pierce Harper, Sr. officiating.
The Journey of our Lifetime Hero! William Michael Henderson, affectionately known as “Mike” was born on January 8, 1958, in Sweetwater, TN, to the union of Malcom Henderson and Mary Ratledge. Mary moved to Indianapolis, IN, to make... View Obituary & Service Information
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