Alice Henderson

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Alice Tamzin “Tammy” Snow Henderson lived a rich life of 88 years, leaving us at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, Nov. 13, 2014. In the papers she leaves behind she urges us not to mourn for her, owing to the full life she lived. However, it is difficult for those who knew her closely not to miss her special personality and characteristics. She definitely left the world a better place wherever she touched it and brought smiles and warmth wherever she visited.

Tammy was born Sept 20, 1926, in Longmeadow, Mass. She was the younger daughter to her only sibling, Walter Snow, who became a longtime resident of Kansas City after his marriage and is now deceased. Tammy and her brother grew up in the community of Longmeadow, her mother Florence choosing to raise her children there even after the divorce with their father.

After Tammy graduated high school, she and her mother moved to New York City, where Tammy went to business school and then found work as a secretary at The New Yorker magazine, chiefly working in the department that accepted and rejected their famous cartoons. The biggest find for Tammy in that period would be her husband. She met James Warren Richardson Jr, a first-year student at West Point Military Academy, on a blind date. The two dated for four more years and were married three days after Jimmy’s graduation, June 11, 1948. The ceremony was performed at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, where Tammy’s grandfather had once served as pastor.

Tammy enjoyed Army life, even the moves which took her to Georgia, Kansas and Panama before Jimmy was shipped out to Korea in 1950. He returned after being wounded, and Tammy then accompanied him as he attended two years at Yale Law School and one year at Louisiana State University. In 1954 the family, as Stephen had been added, moved to their first real residence in Arlington, Va., where Jimmy worked in the Pentagon as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. And in 1956 the family was completed with the birth of Elizabeth. Jimmy chose to leave Army life and moved back to his small hometown of Bogalusa in 1958. He set about establishing a law practice, and Tammy attended to raising the family and, along the way, becoming one of the leading lights in that small town.

Tammy occasionally helped in her husband’s office, but was chiefly a homemaker extraordinaire. Whether it was Cub Scout Den Mother or contributions to the YWCA, The Literacy Program or Civic League, she contributed her energies to making the world a richer one for her children and a better one for the community at large. She was one of the first Republicans to register in the all-Democratic South of the early 1960s and over the next decades was instrumental in the growth of the Republican Party there. She also spent enormous time and energy at the First Presbyterian Church, where she served as deacon, elder, Sunday school teacher and clerk of session.

Her husband Jimmy battled cancer under her care for over a year but died in 1986. Three years later, she married James Henderson, also a recent widow and longtime friend. She changed her name to Tammy Henderson, at that time. The new Henderson betrotheds lived happily until James himself succumbed to cancer. After a few years living on her own in Bogalusa, Tammy decided to move to a robust retirement community in San Antonio near her daughter Elizabeth’s home in Boerne.

Upon moving to San Antonio in 2003, she changed her letter of membership to St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Boerne, where she was a dedicated member for the last decade. She resided at Independence Hill, a retirement community, for the past 11 years. She had become a pivotal member of that community, creating fellowship and goodwill among the residents. Highly social, Tammy was always meeting and adopting new residents as friends. Recently, she had paid particular attention to those whose infirmities made it hard to be social. She visited them in the hospital or their own rooms, bringing muffins or a card. An avid talker, Tammy prided herself on mostly listening during her visits, recognizing that much of what we need from others is to be heard.

Most anyone would define Tammy first and foremost as exhibiting a wealth of kindness, something that has proven a good model for her children, grandchildren and those others lucky enough to know her. She has never made a secret of her deep sense of religious belief. Although a member of the Presbyterian Church her entire life, she has spoken of a special time when she was 30 years old and the mother of two but felt in dire straits in terms of her own workload and responsibilities taking care of a family with two small children. She prayed, and prayed. And when silent, heard the words: “Be still and know that I am God.” It struck her that she had been praying, but not listening for an answer. The answer seemed to tell her she need just trust, and that deep sense of unwavering faith has defined her spiritual life for the 58 years that followed.

Her children might well have taken her incredible talents for granted before they had children of their own. In giving selflessly to our own children, we are reminded of all that our parents sacrificed for our sake. And there is nothing Tammy would not do to love and give to her kids. It is hoped that this spirit has passed along to her children, and to the others who have witnessed her largesse.

She is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth Smith, and son-in-law, Larry Smith, of Boerne, Texas; her son, Stephen Richardson of Brooklyn, N.Y.; a granddaughter, Tess Erickson, of Austin, Texas; and three grandsons, Jimmy Smith of Waco, Texas, Tate Richardson of Brooklyn and Rusty Smith of Kansas City, Kan. She and her radiance will be sorely missed but deeply remembered.

A Memorial Service will be held at a later point in time in Bogalusa where she will be buried in the Richardson Family plot between her husband Judge Jim Richardson and her mother, Florence Snow. In lieu of flowers, consider a donation in her memory to St. Mark Presbyterian Church of Boerne, Texas, the First Presbyterian Church of Bogalusa or the Wounded Warrior Project.