Clifford Henderson, or Cliff as he is known, was born May 10, 1928, in Avenal, Calif., near Hanford and south of Fresno, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Cliff spent his 90th birthday with his wife, Florence, quietly, although he received well-wishes from their son and daughter by phone and cards. Cliff and Florence had a third child, a son, but he died at age 27 from cerebral palsy. They are looking forward to Christ’s return, for they not only will spend eternity with Jesus but their son will be reinstated completely whole, healed from the disease he had while on this earth.
Cliff spent four years in the Navy in the early 1950s. It was during that time he met his darling Florence, whom he wed twice. The first time they wed was in March, he was in OAC and spent one year in Japan. Cliff and Florence wed prior to his completing his four-year term in the Navy so Cliff would be bringing in more money. Their second wedding was in June 1952 so their families and friends could celebrate as wedding guests in the happy occasion.
Cliff was baptized and joined the Adventist Church in 1954, two years after the second wedding.
Cliff does not remember life without Florence, as they have been married 66 years, in which they have never once fought, but had healthy discussions if, and when, they had the slightest differences of opinions. Their marriage has been a happy one.
During his life, Cliff has moved his family around frequently due to his work. He has farmed, been a machinist, worked in a sawmill and logged for a time, cutting and felling timber. He remembers felling a 16-foot-diameter Redwood tree. (Somewhere along the way, he also did some crosscut saws.) Although he worked in both California and Oregon, Cliff enjoyed working in the California Redwoods the most. Cliff’s work in the woods also entailed what he loved best, which was a cat skinner, pulling all the logs down to the landing where they were loaded onto logging trucks. At times he was working three cats on one job.
Later in his life, Cliff and Florence spent years living east of Bakersfield in the mountains where he was a beekeeper and had 1,000 colonies of bees. He always talked to his bees quietly, especially when he took honey from the hives. Cliff rarely wore a netted bee-bonnet. His son-in-love worked with him wearing shorts, yet did not get stung. Cliff delivered twenty 55-gallon barrels of honey to the co-op at a time.
When his daughter moved Cliff and Florence to Oregon, she used the ruse she was taking them to visit friends. Once in the air, high above the clouds in route, she then told her parents the truth, that she was moving them to the Village Retirement Center in Gresham, Ore.