Reflections on the Passing of an Old Friend: Harold Henderson

By Bill Bouie, Chairman, Park Authority Board

The Park Authority lost a stalwart advocate with the recent passing of Harold Henderson, a former Lee District Representative to the Fairfax County Park Authority Board. We lost of man of vision and a dedicated volunteer who understood the importance of public service. Many of us simply lost a friend.

Harold HendersonThe Alexandria resident was appointed to the Board in 1997 and reappointed in 2000. He left the board in January 2003 for personal reasons.

Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay noted, “Harold Henderson dedicated his life to making our community a better place. When I reflect on his memory, I remember fondly his love of our parks and recreation areas. While on the Park Authority Board, and for many years before and after his term, Harold was a staple all across Lee District. I can say – without question – that Harold played a large role in making our world-class parks what they are today, and his legacy will live on forever.”

I echo Jeff’s sentiments and believe that we were incredibly lucky to have found a person willing to serve who could see the possibilities that existed in places like Lee District Park, the Banks and Berman-Gerber properties, Huntley Meadows, local stream valley parks and Greendale Golf Course. Did I mention that Harold loved to play golf? He served as an ambassador for golfers throughout our park system.

Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer said, “Success depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character.”

Harold lived that ethos and served the residents of Fairfax County with distinction. He endeavored to find a way to make the park system better for all providing facilities and protecting natural and cultural resources. He worked closely with the Board of Supervisors and fellow members of the Park Authority Board, helping to establish a more harmonious relationship that has benefited all residents. This was a critical first step that has resulted in a Gold Medal, nationally renowned park system that is about to receive its second accreditation, having met every single criteria – all 144. Thank you Harold for laying the groundwork!

Under his leadership as committee chair of the Administration/Management Committee, he also helped guide the selection of top-notch directors of the agency. He has been at the forefront of our success and even after his tenure Harold’s expertise did not relate only to the park system. A Certified Fraud Examiner, Henderson had a long career in conducting, supervising and managing criminal, civil and administrative investigations and security programs, including Hotline programs for the reporting of crime, fraud, waste, abuse and/or mismanagement.

He was also a Former Commissioner/Chairman of the Fairfax County Civil Service Commission and served as Lee District Chairman of the Park and Recreation Advisory Board. He was active in local civic and athletic organizations and received the Lord Fairfax Citizenship Award, among other honors.

Even after he left our Board he was still interested in parks and attended many functions, accompanied by his family who looked after his needs. I will miss his warm smile and his wry sense of humor. An anonymous author wrote,” It takes just a minute to find and recognize a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them. However, it takes an entire lifetime to forget them.” Harold will not be forgotten and his legacy will serve the residents of Lee District well into the future.

A memorial service and gathering of friends and family will be held on Saturday, August 25, 2018 (1 to 4 p.m.), at Twin Lakes Golf Course in the Oaks Room. Twin Lakes is located at 6201 Union Mill Road, Clifton, VA.

For more information, contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8702.

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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