Myrtle Lee Henson was born August 22, 1936 in Mt. Pleasant, Texas to the proud parents of Melvin Daniels and Laurene Gamble. She knew Ellis Burelson as her loving father. Her family moved to Stockton, California in the late 1940s. Myrtle was the oldest of two children, herself and sister Brenda.
She attended Franklin High School during its first year of operation, where she participated in the student council and graduated in 1952. In 1954, she graduated from Stockton Junior College with her Associate’s Degree in Sociology, and continued her education at College of the Pacific, now known as University of the Pacific (UOP), graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 1969. She worked for many years before retiring in 1981 from the Opportunity Industrialization Center (OIC) as a Branch Manager.
On August 25, 1956, Myrtle married the love of her life, George M. Henson. This loving marriage and unbreakable bond would last more than 64 years. She was the proud mother of six children, Gregory, Von Greta, Delwyn, Renee, Pamela and Georgina.
Myrtle was a beautiful person. She accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into her life at an early age and was a member of Tracy Community Church, under Pastor Brian Richardson. Additionally, she did missionary work at Tracy Temple Church of God in Christ, under Elder BJ Forrest. Her missionary work included traveling to Italy, Russia, Korea, London, Israel and the Holy Land.
Myrtle was accomplished member of society. To name a few of her accomplishments, she served as a representative on Countywide Community Action Council, working to help protect the welfare of the children in Tracy. She wrote a proposal and negotiated the purchase of land for construction of the Larch-Clover Community Center, where she was appointed Director. Her accomplishments there were invaluable. When funds weren’t available for the purchase, she reached out to the White House for assistance. She received a call from none other than President Richard Nixon, and was able to convince his administration to make a contribution, thereby securing funding for the completion of the Larch-Clover Community Center project. This project was instrumental in helping several children’s programs, youth groups, and other community organizations. Her accomplishments also included a lot of “firsts”. She launched the city’s first Mobile Outreach Clinic for migrants and low-income families of Tracy. She served as the first parent coordinator of Head Start in San Joaquin County. She was the Medical Director for Tracy’s first Larch-Clover Medical Clinic. She was the first Black woman employed in downtown Tracy, and was the first African American women to sit on the Board of Directors of Duel Vocational Institute (DVI). She was a woman of many first.
She was a Community/Civil Rights Activist, advocating for political voting in 1968. She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and the Investment Club for women only. She taught women how to invest in the stock market in the early 1990’s. She also worked as a substitute Teacher at Tracy Middle School and Tracy High School teaching a subject she enjoyed, Black History. She was also a proud member of Women of Destiny.
Myrtle loved her family and enjoyed traveling, shopping and spending quality time with her close family and friends. Her family enriched her life. She loved them and they loved her even more.
Myrtle departed this life on September 20, 2020. She will be greatly missed by many. She was loved beyond words and will be missed beyond measure. She was preceded in death by her parents, and her dear grandmother Myrtle Williams.
Myrtle Henson leaves to cherish her loving memory, her beloved husband of more than 64 years, George M. Henson of Tracy, CA; her children Gregory Reed of Sacramento, CA; Von Greta Henson of Tracy, CA; Delwyn (Connie) Henson of Tracy, CA; Renee (Anthony) Russell of Mt. House, CA; Pamela (Darrell) Hare and Georgina (Edward) Capizano all of Tracy, CA; her dear sister, Brenda Kimble of Cary, NC; her ten grandchildren, four great-grandchildren; and a host of relatives and friends.
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