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Uarda Una Henderson, 100, Taught in Oswego 308, Played Piano, and So Much More

"Per her request, there will be no funeral, but a time of remembrance, music, and celebration of Uarda’s life will be held at a later date. It is way too cold for flowers."

Uarda Una Henderson | Provided
Uarda Una Henderson | Provided

Henderson, Uarda Una, 100, of Plainfield, IL, completed her life’s journey on January 22, 2014, at the family farm house, where she was born.  She was born April 17, 1913 the first child of the late Reuben & Amanda (Hummel) Hafenrichter. Her father’s notation in his daily journal read, “Planting oats - Urda Una arrived at 11 AM”, misspelling Uarda.  

She attended Lombard grade school, a one room school, walking the mile to and from school daily.  She completed three grades the first year.  The Superintendent of Schools in Will County would not give her a diploma of graduation, as he thought she was too young.  

Uarda started high school, on probation, at East Aurora when she was 11 years old and graduated at age 15 in 1928.  She was on the honor roll all four years.  “In whose little body dwells a mighty mind”, was the caption under her graduation picture.  

She went to college at North Central College, in Naperville, IL, where she majored in Elementary Education, with a minor in music, and graduated in 1933.  Uarda then began teaching at Lombard school, earning $600 per year!  She then taught in the Oswego school district and the East Aurora school district.  Uarda had the distinction of teaching all three of her siblings, at some time in their school careers.

On July 3, 1941, she married Bruce Henderson and they lived in Oswego, IL, where they started their family.  In 1946, the family moved to the farm and began farming.  Uarda went back to teaching in the Oswego schools in 1954, while Bruce farmed, drove a school bus, and worked part time as a welder.  

She was always a homemaker, as well as a Sunday school teacher, church organist, and choir director.  Her love of music and skill at piano playing enabled her to transpose any piece of music into any key at any time – a skill she thought every musician had!  

Her prized worldly possession was her 1924 Steinway grand piano, financed by raising the “runts” from their hog farming enterprise.  She took time away from teaching to earn her Master’s Degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, returning to teaching in the Naperville school system, in the mid ‘60s.

In 1971, Bruce and Uarda moved to Arvada, CO and lived there until 1983, when they returned to the farm house.  A world traveler, Uarda traveled to Canada, Hawaii, Okinawa, England, Switzerland, and Germany.  

She was preceded in death by her step-mother Ella Hafenrichter, husband Bruce Henderson, daughter Dr. Sherry Kay, two brothers Everett Hafenrichter, John Hafenrichter and brother-in-law William Leigh.  She is survived by her sister Glenda Leigh, sister-in-law Lucille Hafenrichter, son Rodney (Doris) Allen, daughter Mary J. (Terry Klotz) Henderson, grandchildren Heather (Paul) Vanden Berg, Bradley Henderson, Michelle (Robbie) Stephenson, and Roy (Mina) Gustafson IV, and three great grandsons Trevor Vanden Berg, Parker Vanden Berg, and Eli Stephenson.

Per her request, there will be no funeral, but a time of remembrance, music, and celebration of Uarda’s life will be held at a later date.  It is way too cold for flowers.  Any contributions - to the charity of the donor’s choice is requested.

Private Family services were held at the DUNN FAMILY FUNERAL HOME with CREMATORY in Oswego, IL.  Burial will take place at Lincoln Memorial Park in Aurora, IL.

For additional information 630/554-3888 orwww.dunnfamilyfuneralhome.com 

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