HENDERSON, GERALD (GERRY)GORDON LEWIS
1926 – 2014
Gerry Henderson passed away peacefully Friday, March 14 in his 88th year, surrounded by loving family members.
He will be deeply missed by his
beloved wife of 59 years, Beverley, daughters Lynn (Philip), Tara (Gordon), and Gail (deceased), grandsons Andrew, Stephen, Christopher and Rohan, and his many nieces and nephews.
G.G.L. Henderson was born on June 10, 1926 in the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. After the family’s Oyama apple orchard burned down, they returned to Northern Ireland where they operated the Henderson Eadie woolen mill. Gerry and his brothers spent much of their time outdoors leading him into scouting where he distinguished himself by earning the level of King Scout.
Gerry was extremely bright, with a near-perfect memory, allowing him to excel in his studies at the finest schools. He started at Trinity College Dublin, and while waiting to be called up to the Air Force, moved on to Oxford University where he found himself to be the only Geology student with seven full time professors! Gerry continued his studies at McGill (Bachelors and Masters degrees in Geology), Princeton (Ph.D. in Geology), and Stanford Universities.
Upon graduation from Princeton, his initial work was with the B.C. Department of Mines where, among other duties, he mapped the Gulf Islands. In 1953, he was recruited by Chevron Canada Resources where he remained for 34 years. His first job as Field Geologist meant he spent every May through September leading field parties mostly on horseback in the Rocky Mountains. Rising steadily within Chevron, he became Chief Geologist in 1963, Vice-President of Exploration in 1967, and ended his remarkable career as the first Canadian born president of Chevron. Gerry was a leader, equally at home negotiating in the boardroom or leading exploration in the bush. Chevron, under Gerry’s leadership, had repeated exploration success with major discoveries at Kaybob South, West Pembina, and Hibernia (the largest off shore oil development in Canadian history). These successes changed the face of the Canadian oil industry for more than a decade. He was admired and respected by employees, industry competitors, and members at all levels of government. In 1986 at the age of 60 he retired from Chevron.
Gerry received innumerable awards and recognitions throughout his career. In 1954, he was awarded the Canadian Society of Professional Geologist (CSPG) Medal of Merit; in 1973, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 1985 he received an honorary Ph.D. from Memorial University. In 1994, the CSPG awarded Gerry it’s most prestigious award, the Stanley Slipper Gold Medal for a half century of scientific contribution, exploration success, business acumen and love of geology. Gerry’s contributions to the science of geology and the industry of petroleum exploration continue to make him an outstanding inspiration in his field.
On retirement, Gerry and Bev relocated to the Vernon area where they enjoyed many years on Kalamalka Lake. He remained active serving on the Executive of The World Petroleum Congress for 10 years and on a number of charitable society Boards including People Place Society, a non-profit in Vernon that provides a base of operation for a variety of charitable organizations.
Gerry’s love for life continued in retirement with a focus on his family and the many friends who were fortunate enough to share in his joy, warmth and acceptance. The multifaceted side of Gerry had him thrilled with a bargain, able to create a make-shift cast out of gypsum for a broken finger in the field, and captivate an audience with stories of his life experiences. Throughout his life he curled, skied, played tennis, hunted, fished, and enjoyed a huge love of golf that he played to the end. He was a devoted husband; a proud and loving father and grandfather. He leaves a big hole in all of our hearts.
The family expresses a sincere thank you to all of the doctors, nurses, and medical staff of the Kelowna General Hospital for their expertise and compassion in caring for Gerry. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations be made to the Kelowna General Hospital (kghfoundation.com).
A private family service was held Monday, March 17 with a Celebration of Life being planned in Kelowna on May 31, 2014.
Condolences may be sent to the family by
visiting www.mem.com. and searching his name under stories. Arrangements in care
of First Memorial Funeral Services,