W. Paul Henderson, 92

Chemical engineer

July 29, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

W. Paul Henderson, a retired chemical engineer and boater, died of heart failure July 18 at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. The Bel Air resident was 92.

Mr. Henderson was born in Baltimore and raised in the Lake Montebello neighborhood.

He was a 1935 graduate of Polytechnic Institute and attended the Johns Hopkins University.

"Even though he was offered a full commission as a lieutenant in the Navy, he was asked to forfeit his commission and use his chemical engineering background to work on the research for the proximity fuse," said his son, Bruce W. Henderson of Indianapolis.

After World War II, he went to work at Edgewood Arsenal, where he was responsible for the development of the handling and storage of liquid rocket propellants.

"He then designed and built the first transport truck for volatile fuels," his son said.

Mr. Henderson, who worked for NASA while at Edgewood, had been assigned to the Gemini and Apollo space missions.

Before retiring from Edgewood in 1981, he designed smoke-grenade mounts for Abrams tanks.

In his retirement, he remained a consultant for Shielding Technologies Inc.

Mr. Henderson had been active in the Sea Scouts when his son was a youth and later became a flotilla commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He also was a longtime member of the Bush River Yacht Club.

Interested in his Scottish heritage, he was an active member of the Highland Society.

Mr. Henderson, who had lived in Bel Air for more than 40 years, moved to the Avondale Retirement Community, also in Bel Air, earlier this year.

He was an avid ballroom dancer.

He was a communicant of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 303 N. Main St., Bel Air, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today.

Also surviving are a daughter, Lynn Davies of Bel Air; and four grandchildren.

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