Hugh Henderson, Community Leader


Hugh Henderson, 

Community Leader

Hugh I. Henderson Sr., 1937-2017

ONEONTA – Hugh I. Henderson Sr., who dedicated much of his life to the public service of Oneonta and Otsego County,  died peacefully at home, following an extended illness, on Friday, April 14, 2017.

He was born March 18, 1937, at Parshall Hospital in Oneonta, the son of Robert L. Henderson Sr. and Marie Elizabeth Henderson.

As a child he lived in Davenport and East Meredith.  In 1946, his family moved to a dairy farm on Southside Drive. He graduated from Oneonta High School in 1954.

Hugh and his brother Bob operated the family dairy farm on Southside for more than 50 years, until October 2000, when the brothers sold their cows, ending more than a half-century of this family-owned business.

Hugh Henderson, standing, chats with Connie Wood, mother of Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood, and with former Otsego County Board chairman David Brenner and his wife Lois at the March 2013 Otsego County Chamber banquet where Henderson was honored at Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Citizen of the Years. Henderson and Brenner served together on the county board for years. ( photo)

Hugh married Betty Mae Rowe on Nov. 2, 1958, raised four children and celebrated 58 years of marriage last November.

Hugh was a lifelong Presbyterian and active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Oneonta where he served as elder and trustee.  He was also a Mason and member of the Elks Lodge.

Hugh was a lifelong Republican and dedicated public servant. He was first elected councilman for the Town of Oneonta in 1973 and served until 1983. In 1983, he was elected a representative of the Otsego County Board and served until 2007. From 1994 to 1999 and 2002 to 2003, he was vice chairman of the county board. He was a longtime member of the Otsego County IDA board of directors (now Otsego Now), and was still serving at the time of his passing.

In 2013, he was honored with the Citizen of the Year award from the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce.

Hugh’s passions were his family, farming with his brother Bob, being a public servant, following politics and current events, taking Sunday drives, finding a good bargain, driving tractors and baling hay.

Hugh is survived by his wife, Betty; four children; 11 grandchildren; nieces and nephews; his oldest son, Hugh Jr., wife, Susan (Lynch) and grandchildren, Julie, Emma and Matt; his second son, David, wife, Susan (Salisbury) and grandchildren, Steven, Elizabeth and Margaret; his oldest daughter, Jane, husband, John Clark and grandchildren, Alex and Guthrie; his second daughter, Susan, husband, Todd Reed and grandchildren, Liam, Aidan and Maeve; nephew, James Henderson and nieces, Deborah Raymond and Roberta Thomas.

Calling hours will be 4-7 p.m., Thursday, April 20, at the Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St., Oneonta.  The memorial service will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 22, at the First Presbyterian Church, 296 Main St., Oneonta, with the Rev. Mark E. Montfort, pastor, officiating.

Interment will be a private ceremony in the Glenwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Friends of Bassett Healthcare Network at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.