The Henson family mourns the passing of Colonel Harold Totten Henson, USA retired, at The Fairfax Military Officers' Retirement Community, in VA on 11 Jan 2014.
Harold was a loving husband, beloved father, doting grandfather, and an outstanding member of America’s Greatest Generation. Harold was 90 years old at the time of his passing and was born on 28 May 1923 in Bokchito, OK to Allison M. Henson Sr. and Minnie Johnnie Henson, a member of the Choctaw tribe.
Harold is survived by his wife of 66 years, Ilse G. Henson, as well as four children. Harold’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are as follows: Margitta I. Rehler and husband David Rehler; Tanja R. Henson-Quinton, husband Newell Quinton, granddaughters Vanessa Leyba and Anna Leyba, and great-granddaughter Miranda Miramontes; Peter H. Henson, wife Kelly Henson, granddaughter Lauren Czerwinski and husband Chad Czerwinski, and grandson Matthew Henson; and Leslie H. Gottesman and husband Dave Gottesman.
Harold T. Henson was a retired Colonel in the United States Army, a veteran of combat in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and who faithfully served his country for 26 years in the Corp of Engineers. Military awards include: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and numerous others. Harold served in the U. S. Army in the European Theater during WWII and received a battlefield commission to 2LT during the war.
He met his future wife, the former Ilse G. Bernhardt, while serving in post-war Germany and returned to the United States following their marriage in 1947. He retired from active military service in 1970 and joined the District of Columbia as the Deputy Director of Public Works where he worked with dedication until his retirement from public service in 1991.
Harold was both a graduate of the University of Maryland and San Diego State University and was a member of the SDSU wrestling team. Harold competed at the 1948 U.S. Olympic Trials in Ames, Iowa, at Iowa State University, and was also the first African American wrestler in NCAA history to compete at the 1949 NCAA National Championship wrestling tournament, in the 136 pound class, hosted by Colorado State University.
The Henson family is proud of Harold’s legacy of service to his nation, his community, collegiate wrestling, and his family. We will truly miss him.