I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal. 2:20
Deacon Gregory R. R. Henderson passed away shortly before dawn on Thursday, January 18, 2024, after a valiant battle with cancer. His family were together praying at his bedside during his final time of struggle, which he endured with grace and which concluded very peacefully. Deacon Greg was a humble, compassionate man with a ready smile who has left an incredible witness of love and service.
Deacon Greg was born on March 25, 1957, in Santa Barbara, California, to John Robert Henderson, Jr. and Lalitha Sastri Henderson. He attended Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California and then Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara. After this he attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. There he played Division I basketball and was named a member of the NCAA Academic All-American Basketball Team in 1978-79. He earned his accounting degree there in 1980. He worked as a missionary with the Navigators—an evangelical group—in India where he lived with his grandfather for three years, learning multiple languages there for the sake of evangelization. During that time, he began work on a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. He married his beloved wife Beatriz on June 25th, 1988. They settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1995. Together he and Beatriz were blessed with eight children: Santiago, Fr. Agustin, Lilia, Evelina, Benjamin, Estevan, Dante, and Francisco. Deacon Greg’s love for and pride in his family radiated in everything he did both personally and professionally.
Deacon Greg was known for his intellect, wisdom, integrity, and honesty. Early in his career he worked as the Finance Director at various advertising agencies in Albuquerque. He then served for 12 years as the Chief Financial Officer at Acción, a national non-profit lending corporation in Albuquerque that serves small businesses and start-ups.
Greg’s deep devotion to Christ and love of scripture were woven into all aspects of his life, and he sought to live for eternity. He had an especial recognition of the redemptive value of suffering and the cross. He eventually converted to the Roman Catholic Church, which was inspired by reading the early Church fathers and studying the history of the Church. Answering God’s call to serve as a permanent deacon, Greg was ordained to the permanent diaconate for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe on July 12, 2003. His assignments included serving at San José Parish from July 2003 - April 2015 and San Martín de Porres from April 2015 - April 2017.
In 2017, Deacon Greg and Beatriz discerned to move to Tucson, Arizona, to be near Beatriz’s mother. They made the decision without knowing where he would work. Providentially, he found that the position of Chief Financial Officer of the Diocese of Tucson had opened up, for which he applied. On August 22, 2017, Bishop Emeritus Gerald F. Kicanas appointed Deacon Greg to this position, where he served until his passing. He worked closely with each of the parishes of the diocese and served as a member of numerous boards and committees. During his time in Tucson, he also ministered as a deacon at the parishes of Our Mother of Sorrows and St. Francis de Sales.
Deacon Greg was a man who strived for virtue and desired to follow the will of God. His devotion to his faith was impactful; his love, patience, wit, and compassion could be seen in his care for his family and his dedication to his colleagues. He loved reading to his children, especially Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He enjoyed playing board games with them, watching movies, as well as hiking, camping, and spending time with them outdoors as a way of living out his vocation as a father. His death leaves a deep wound that is gravely felt by his family, parishioners, friends, the personnel of the Diocese of Tucson Pastoral Center, and the vast community he served so generously.
Deacon Greg is survived by his beloved Beatriz and their children: Santiago (31; Denver, Colorado), Father Agustin (28; Santa Fe, New Mexico), Lilia (27; Charlotte, North Carolina); Evelina (24; Tucson), Benjamin (22; Rochester, New York), Estevan (19; Santa Paula, California); Dante (17; Tucson), and Francisco (15; Tucson). He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law Tom and Terrin Henderson. Survivors of his wife Beatriz’s family include her mother, Alba Keesal, and her two siblings, Gaston and Cecilia.
The Funeral Mass for Deacon Greg will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, January 22nd, 2024, at St. Augustine Cathedral with Father Agustín Henderson as presider and Bishop Edward Weisenburger as homilist. Prior to the Mass, there will be a viewing at 12:00 p.m. until the Rosary at 1:30 p.m. Burial will follow at Holy Hope Cemetery in Tucson. Reception will follow at the Cathedral at 4:30 p.m.
Eternal rest grant unto Deacon Greg, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.