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Beloved DL science teacher passes away: Funeral for Marc Henderson open to students, entire community

The Henderson family from left to right: Sydney, Marc, Maddie, Courtney, and Shea. Submitted Photo

He didn't just become a student-favorite when he announced he had cancer last year — Marc Henderson had always been one of those warm, light hearted, caring kind of teachers that his middle school students have always loved. His positivity and smile proved infectious for students and staff.

On Sunday, however, Henderson succumbed to esophageal cancer that had metastasized to his liver. He was 50 years old. He was a father of three girls and the husband of fellow science teacher Courtney Henderson, whom he worked across the hall from for 15 years.

Henderson, who grew up in Detroit Lakes, graduating with the class of 1986, continued to work as much as he could during his battle with cancer, calling his students "loving and caring", believing that school was the healthiest place for him to be. In an interview with this newspaper about his fight with cancer in December, he said: "From the beginning of this whole process I've always said...that I want to do this, and I don't care if I'm doing it in front of the kids, and I don't care if they see the process. I think there's a lot to learn from it, and that part's important to me," said Henderson, always the teacher.

Friday his students will be among family, friends and the community of people saying goodbye to the beloved eighth grade teacher. Detroit Lakes Superintendent Doug Froke sent out an alert to all parents within the district Friday, extending an invitation to be a part of Henderson's funeral being held Friday, August 10 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Detroit Lakes.

"He taught in our district for 15 years and impacted the lives of thousands of students, as well as the community around us," said Froke. Visitation begins at 2 p.m., with students singing prior to the service, which begins at 4 p.m. A pizza supper will follow the service, after which time all are invited out to the Henderson residence at 8:15 p.m. for a paper lantern send-off in memory of him.

"All are welcome to every aspect of the day," said Froke in his message. "In lieu of cut flowers Marc requested perennials, trees and shrubs to be planted throughout the community."

The Henderson family set up a Dollars For Scholars fund called the Marc Henderson Legacy scholarship. "It will go to students interested in science, or the environment, or teaching," said Courtney Henderson, who says they welcome people's contributions to the fund. "We will also be looking for students who are good citizens and who look out for others."

Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes and Perham, both in Minnesota.

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