Donald “Don” Lee Henson
Donald “Don” Lee Henson passed away at his home on Thursday, July 15 at the age of 80.
A long-time resident of Knoxville, TN and especially well-known in the Karns community, he taught and coached at Bearden Junior High School and Northwest Middle School in the Knox County School System for more than thirty years.
He was born on February 4, 1941, in Lawrenceburg, TN to the late Leonard “Dick” and Alene Clayton Henson. While still a high school student, he left home and joined the Army National Guard. Following his military service, he returned home and graduated from Lawrence County High School. Don was awarded a football scholarship to the University of TN where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education. On August 22, 1964 he married his high school sweetheart, Lillian Lanning Henson.
Don was devoted to his family, the University of Tennessee Volunteers, Karns High School basketball, traveling, playing cards, and golfing. You could always find him at his grandchildren’s activities – piano or dance recitals, band concerts, tennis lessons, basketball practice and games, or shopping at the mall. If you called him Don, Coach, Mr. Henson, Daddy, or Happy, he always answered with a smile, and enjoyed all that life had to offer. His nickname of “Happy” truly described his kind, friendly and generous personality. Don was a loving man who enriched the lives of everyone he met. He will be lovingly remembered and dearly missed.
He was preceded in death by his parents: Leonard “Dick” and Alene Clayton Henson; two brothers: James Henson and Billy Henson; and a brother-in-law: Willie Hargrove.
Don is survived by his wife of 56 years: Lillian Lanning Henson of Knoxville; daughter: Holly Peters (Bart) of Princeton KY; son: Lee Henson (Brandi) of Knoxville; brother: Jack Henson (Mary) of Woodhaven, MI; sister: Linda Hargrove of Willis, MI; sister in law: Gracie Henson of Lawrenceburg; four grandchildren: Lindsey Rose (Aaron) of Elizabethtown KY, Macy Byrd of Paducah KY, Raley Henson of Knoxville, Eden Henson of Knoxville; and several nieces and nephews.
Graveside Services for Donald “Don” Lee Henson were conducted Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Mimosa Cemetery in Lawrenceburg, TN with Mr. Bill Burks officiating. Neal Funeral Home was in charge of all arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or The Girls and Boys Clubs of Knoxville, 240 E. Baxter Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917.