Rick Henderson, 62, a lifelong resident of Cle Elum and Roslyn, passed away on December 9, 2019 at Seattle’s Virginia Mason Medical Center after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
Rick was born at the Ellensburg Community Hospital on December 8, 1957 to Charles and Jennie Henderson. He was the second child born and arrived 11 months to the day after his brother Nick.
Growing up, Rick developed a love for the outdoors, his family’s Croatian heritage, and listening to stories of the early days in Roslyn and Cle Elum from his uncles and the old-timers in the area, which instilled his love of local history.
Rick graduated from Cle Elum-Roslyn High in 1976, where he became a standout athlete, excelling in football and track. He was a member of the 1974 football team that placed second in state. He won several medals at the state level in track as a sprinter and member of the relay teams, while also setting school records as a sprinter. He still holds the school record in the 400M race he set in 1976.
After graduating, Rick worked in Healy, Alaska at the Usibelli Coal Mine. He returned home and became a logger in the area. He often worked with the Hill and Renfro families and had his own truck for many years. He also worked with H&D Logging for many years. During his time with H&D, he worked as a snowplow driver for WSDOT, mainly working out of the Hyak and Easton shops. He was hired full time with WSDOT and worked his way up to Maintenance Supervisor at the Hyak Shop on Snoqualmie Pass, a position he held until his passing. He was very proud of his time as a logger and working with WSDOT. He especially enjoyed the crews he worked with at Easton and Hyak, many of which were lifelong friends.
In 1983, Rick became a father. He and girlfriend Shirley Snavely welcomed their son, Nathan Henderson, into the world. Rick spent many adventures with him throughout his life.
Rick had many passions and hobbies. In the late 1990s and early 2000s he volunteered to coach Cle Elum-Roslyn track team. Over the years he helped many young sprinters excel. He had a great passion for track and enjoyed seeing students who shared that passion and helping them succeed. He also spent several years volunteering at Ellensburg High’s Jewett Invitational Track Meet.
His love of football nearly matched his love for track, and despite constant badgering and relentless teasing from his friends and family, he was a longtime loyal fan of the Denver Broncos and watched them win three Super Bowls, most recently Super Bowl 50, which he especially enjoyed because of their performance defensively.
He was a longtime member of the Cle Elum, Roslyn, Ronald Heritage Club and helped with many projects over the years, including the completion of the Miner’s Memorial in Roslyn. He was especially proud that his uncle Joe Andler had been the model for the miner standing in the memorial. He took great pride as the emcee of the annual Coalminers Memorial and presenting the King Coal Award each year. He put many hours into cleaning and rebuilding the Greenwood Cemetery, and organized many projects there, including a sign for the cemetery built by the Cle Elum-Roslyn high shop class. He was also vice president and president of the Heritage Club.
Rick enjoyed making homemade foods and canning. For years he canned many different foods, made homemade sauerkraut, and homemade wine, which he would often give away. His wine was very popular with friends and family. He also enjoyed cutting meat. He learned how to cut from Johnny Carek at his shop in Ducktown, and often worked with others in the area, including Charlie Glondo and most recently Steve Plesha, who he worked with over the years to build a meat cutting shop in Teanaway.
He also loved to spend time riding horses and camping, most often in Waptus Lake and surrounding areas. Many days were spent with friends and family packing into his uncle’s camp near Waptus. He also camped at Escondido Lake, hunted elk on Waptus Pass, and rode throughout the Alpine Lakes region.
Later in life, Rick achieved a long-time dream with a visit to Croatia, where his grandparents on the Osmonovich side of the family had emigrated from to Roslyn in the early 1900s. He was lucky enough to make several return trips over the years and loved every part of the country. Often he said it reminded him of growing up as a kid in Roslyn. It was the only other place in the world that he wanted to live.
Rick may be best remembered for his love and devotion to friends and family, his humor, his storytelling abilities, and his willingness to help, often putting his needs aside to help friends and family in any way he could.
Rick is preceded in death by his father, Charles “Chuck” Henderson, his uncle Steve “Pip” Osmonovich, his Uncle John “Chick” Osmonovich, and several other aunts and uncles. He is survived by his mother Jenny (Osmonovich) Henderson; brother Nick Henderson, son Nathan Henderson, and many uncles, cousins and friends.
The family will greet friends at a visitation on Friday, December 20 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Cascade Funeral Home in Cle Elum. A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 21, in the Memorial Gardens section of the Roslyn Cemetery, with a potluck reception beginning at noon inside the Cle Elum Eagles club.
Memorial contributions in Rick’s honor are suggested to the Cle Elum, Roslyn, Ronald Heritage Club, c/o Jana Bland, PO Box 916, Cle Elum, WA 98922. Cascade Funeral Home of Cle Elum has been entrusted with caring for Rick’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.cascadefuneralhome.com