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Brian Frank Henderson of Du Quoin

  • Brian Henderson

    Brian Henderson

 
updated: 7/21/2021 12:47 PM

Brian Frank Henderson, 75, of Du Quoin, passed away at 4:21 p.m. on Saturday, July 10, 2021 at the SIH Memorial Hospital in Carbondale.

Brian was a sheet metal worker for 28 years and a member of the SMW Local 268, and had been the business agent for the last seven years.

He was a U.S. Marine veteran of the Vietnam War and served three tours of duty there. He was a Lifemember of VFW Post 513, a Lifemember of DAV Chapter 51, American Legion Post 647, NRA and the NMLRA.

He was born Feb. 15, 1946 at Ayr, Scotland, the son of George "Red" and Margaret "Greta" (Gardener) Henderson.

Brian was married to "his girl," "his bride" Melody A. Leek on July 24, 1971 in North Carolina; they were married for 50 years and he loved her beyond measure.

He was a great man, a great dad and was honored to be a grandpa and great-grandpa. He loved his Scottish heritage and his country. He loved to laugh and tell jokes. He had a quick wit, and you never had to guess what he was thinking. He carried himself in the same manner no matter who he was around.

Brian was known for his bear hugs and firm handshakes, and you can bet that "his word was his bond." He had many close friends in his life, some of which he enjoyed daily breakfasts with at Kalin's Cafe at the infamous "liars table."

Brian loved watching professional baseball, NASCAR and The History Channel. He started a tradition many years ago where every year he took his sons, sons-in-law and grandsons to the Labor Day stock car races in Du Quoin.

Brian was a huge patriot and never wanted any accolades for his own military service or awards, which included three voluntary tours to Vietnam over the course of nine years as a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant. He had the upmost respect for those who served in WWI, WWII and Korea.

He was an advocate for Vietnam veterans as well; he was part of the Vietnam Veterans Coalition that brought large reunions to the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds so that surviving veterans and families could be reunited with one another.

Brian was involved in prison outreach to Vietnam veterans, he assisted many vets to appointments, often visited the Anna Veteran's Home and helped get veterans the benefits that they deserved. Brian was proud to be a part of the VFW Post 513 Honor Guard; and served as Commander from 1984-85.

Brian enjoyed traditional archery and was a founding member of P.A.S.T. (Pyramid Archery Society -- Traditional) in 1994; he also helped to revitalize the program in 2009 after the club went inactive. He enjoyed other traditional weaponry such as black powder guns, knife and axe throwing. He enjoyed helping his family and the younger generations in the community navigate through traditional hunting and fishing skills.

He loved the outdoors and all nature within it. He said that the outdoors was his "church." He enjoyed shooting photos of nature and was also the family's photographer, capturing every moment that he could.

Brian was an avid (fly) fisherman; he took his last canoe trip out onto the water this Father's Day.

He is survived by his wife of Du Quoin; four children, Brian Douglas "Doug" Henderson Comte and wife Denise of Tamaroa, Toni Harper and husband David of Du Quoin, Tracy Schubert and husband Carl of Du Quoin, Thomas Henderson and wife Ashley of Du Quoin and a bonus child, Paul McHargue of Herrin; 10 grandchildren, Ambra, Shaad, Morgan, Hayden, Chelsea, Macey, Dylan, Carlie, Presley and Cash; six great-grandchildren' two brothers, Jeffrey Bruce "JB" Henderson and wife Susie of Hollister, Missouri and John Henderson and wife Rachell of Enterprise, Alabama; and sister Bitty Craig and husband Dean of Du Quoin.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Richard Wayne "Dick" Henderson.

Per Brian's request cremation rites were accorded. There will be no public visitation or funeral.

A Celebration of Life Service for Brian and Melody will be held at the Du Quoin VFW Post 513, Saturday, July 31, 2021 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Friends are invited to make memorials to the Du Quoin V.F.W. Honor Guard or the group This Able Veteran, which will be accepted at the funeral home.

The Searby Funeral Home in Du Quoin is in charge of arrangements.

For additional information or to sign the memorial guest register, visit www.searbyfuneralhomes.com.

Melody Ann Henderson

Melody Ann Henderson, 71, of Du Quoin, passed away at 4:03 a.m. on Thursday, July 15, 2021 at her residence in Du Quoin.

She was a Du Quoin High School graduate with the class of 1968 and attended Southern Illinois University. Melody worked at her family-owned restaurant, B.J.'s Garden Inn, for 30 years.

She was born Jan. 6, 1950 at Du Quoin, Illinois, the daughter of Carl Wallace and Betty Jane (Morgan) Leek.

Melody loved her beloved "Brian Frank" so much that the thought of him leaving this Earth before her was unbearable. They were two peas in a pod; where there was one, you found the other. Melody was famous for being late to everything but when it came to being back with Brian, she wasted no time.

Melody enjoyed reading and diligently researched everything there was to know about building a cordwood home. Together, Melody and Brian constructed their dream home from the foundation to the roof. Melody used a draw knife to strip the bark off of every log that she would later place perfectly to form the walls of the home where her children and grandchildren would come to gather.

Melody was a green thumb. She could grow anything, as is evidenced by the philodendron given to the family in the mid-80s which still sits on her kitchen table. She enjoyed outdoor organic gardening and was known for her flowers, berries and the largest cluster of wisteria you could imagine. She always dreamt of owning a florist shop/greenhouse and she enjoyed many trips to Bullock's Nursery.

Melody could tell a good story and had an infectious laugh; some might say that her wit was even quicker than Brian's. Melody had fond memories of growing up in Hallidayboro and talked often about the church choir and plays, the best blackberries, Johnny Beard's and the infamous apple picking trip.

Melody was also an advocate for veterans, especially for her Marine; supporting him in every outreach he was involved in, standing beside him and organizing events with him. Melody and Brian loved to dance together; gliding across the floor in perfect unison.

Melody was dedicated to working alongside her mother, Betty, in many different restaurants and stayed with her at B.J.'s for over 30 years. In Melody's opinion, no one's cooking could measure up to her mom's and you often heard about it.

She enjoyed hosting Christmas gatherings and was known for the most beautiful live Christmas trees, which had a different theme each year with handmade decorations. She loved hosting and presenting the perfect Christmas meal and you can bet that if you brought a guest unexpectedly, she would welcome them with open arms and then scurry off to find a gift that she could wrap up so they weren't left out. She always took care of anyone who entered her home and you would only see her eating a meal after everyone had been taken care of.

In the recent years as Melody's health declined, she remained a homemaker with the love of her life and enjoyed watching The Hallmark Channel and visiting with family and friends.

Melody married Brian Frank Henderson on July 24, 1971 in North Carolina, and he preceded her in death on July 10, 2021.

She is survived by four children, Brian Douglas "Doug" Henderson Comte and wife Denise of Tamaroa, Toni Harper and husband David of Du Quoin, Tracy Schubert and husband Carl of Du Quoin, and Thomas Henderson and wife Ashley of Du Quoin; a bonus child, Paul McHargue of Herrin; 10 grandchildren, Ambra, Shaad, Morgan, Hayden, Chelsea, Macey, Dylan, Carlie, Presley and Cash; six great-grandchildren; three sisters, Randy Lee Leek, Carla Terry and Wallie Leek, all of Du Quoin; and one brother, Kent Leek of Du Quoin.

Melody was preceded in death by her parents and husband.

Per Melody's request, cremation rites were accorded. There will be no public visitation or funeral.

There will be a Celebration of Life Service for Melody and Brian at the Du Quoin VFW Post 513, Saturday, July 31, 2021 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Friends are invited to make memorials to the American Cancer Society, which will be accepted at the funeral home.

Searby Funeral Home in Du Quoin is in charge of arrangements.

For additional information or to sign the memorial guest register, visit www.searbyfuneralhomes.com.