Levi Morris Henderson was born December 1, 1939 to Lee and Jessie Cooper Henderson in Olmsted, IL and departed this earthly life October 3, 2019 at Advent Health – Fish Memorial Hospital in Orange City, FL.
At an early age, Levi accepted Christ and learned the importance of hard work by helping on the family farm and would also pick peaches and other produce to purchase clothes for school. After graduating from Grand Chain High School in Olmsted, he moved to Chicago, IL. Levi enlisted in the United States Army in 1963 and received an honorable discharge June 25, 1965. He proudly told stories about Army Airborne School in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Levi met and married Olivia Willins. Levi and Olivia initially lived in Chicago, but later moved their family to Des Plaines Street in Joliet. He was employed at Olin Chemicals as a welder, later advancing to the title of Millwright. Levi was widowed by Olivia in 1984. He fulfilled Olivia’s dying wish that their children graduate from Catholic School, by working at Olin and performing other side jobs, such as barber, handyman, woodworking, landscaping and farming. Levi later met Thelma Gavin and made a home at 1304 Vintage Drive in Joliet. Levi, Thelma and their families would annually attend the Illinois State High School Basketball Tournament. Levi’s son, Stokley, died in 1991. Thelma died in 2015.
After the closure of Olin Chemicals, Levi attended culinary school, worked as a security guard and served as a Resident Attendant at an Easter Seals Group Home, utilizing his handyman and barbering skills, as well as transporting residents to medical appointments. He acquired heavy machinery and owned and operated a landscaping company, maintaining lots in subdivisions and neighborhoods throughout Joliet. After retirement from Easter Seals, Levi moved to Florida. Even with declining health, he annually made the trip to attend the Illinois High School Basketball Tournament.
Levi was a member of American Legion Post 1080 in Joliet, attending veterans’ functions throughout the community. In his “spare time”, he tended to his and Thelma’s garden and followed politics. Levi was a lover of college basketball, tennis, boxing, gospel music, western movies and desserts. He laughed about occasionally making a full meal out of nothing but sweets.
Along with Olivia, Stokley, Thelma and his parents, Levi is predeceased by a sister, Lola Stovall, and brother, Joseph Henderson.
Those left to cherish fond memories are sons, Alvin Henderson of Joliet, IL and Reggie Willins of Memphis, TN and daughter Nicole Hawkins (Terrance) of Deltona, FL; four grandchildren, Elijah Henderson, Jeremy Willins, Jerricko Willins and Jerrica Willins; stepchildren Beverly Brown (Lester), Larry Gavin (Julie), Margaret Hunter, Diane Gavin and Gloria Graves (Melvin); three sisters, Minnie Cheney of Detroit, MI, Jessie Kimmins and Mildred Henderson of Olmsted, IL; three brothers, George, Freddy (Cindy) and Elbert Henderson of Olmsted, IL and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
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