The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001055791-01
Funeral Notices

CHARLES BELKNAP HENDERSON II 81, passed away peacefully on October 27, 2017 in Littleton, Colorado after a brief but valiant fight against pancreatic cancer. Charlie was born in Honolulu to Louise Erdman and Charles Jefferson Henderson on January 25, 1936. His school years were spent at Hanahauoli School and then Punahou, graduating as Class President in 1954. A relentless competitor, he played football and basketball and ran track in all four years of high school. In 1952, he was named an All-Star defensive back by both major newspapers in the Honolulu Interscholastic League (now the ILH) and in 1953 was an integral part of Punahou’s long-elusive football championship quest in that League. In what amounted to the title contest in November, he ran 67 yards for a critical touchdown on a strange but effective broken play. "It was," an old friend said, "as if he had worked his whole athletic life for that burst and he made the most of it." He loved the beach especially for body-surfing and volleyball, but was never a dedicated Waterman as were others within his generation and circle of friends. After Punahou, Charlie attended Dartmouth College, where he majored in Botany and fell madly in love with skiing. His interest in Botany was a bit surprising to some, but a fascination with agriculture was not to those who knew him well. From childhood days watching sugar harvesting at Waialua, spending summers at Kahua Ranch on Hawaii Island, through college and summer work, and eventually into the training program of the bygone Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, his career goals were clear. There was subsequent employment at several Island sugar plantations and in Puerto Rico. In 1972 he moved to Colorado and acquired the 100 year old Bar U I ranch near Steamboat Springs and successfully modernized the business through new agricultural and breeding techniques. In 1981 he moved his cattle operation to Castle Rock and subsequently consulted with other ranchers wanting to pasture cattle closer to mid-Western feed lots. His own self-description was, "I guess I’ve always basically been a farmer." Politically conservative, but socially liberal, Charlie welcomed the challenge of service in the US Army Reserve Special Forces where he earned his Jump Wings as a paratrooper. In later years, his 50s, he tackled another physical challenge—long distance endurance bicycle riding. He was a four-time finisher of the Paris-Brest-Paris ride which originated in 1891 and the1200K Montreal-Boston-Montreal. With other local cyclists he started the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club (RMCC) focused on endurance riding and was a founding member of Randonneurs USA (RUSA). There are now more than 10,000 RUSA members and his member number is 5. He continued to ride with RMCC until 2012 and continued to organize spring training camps and the club’s "Challenge Series" rides until his cancer diagnosis in January, 2017. Charlie is survived by his wife of 36 years, the former Diana Damon Smart and two sons, Peter (Sally Bearne) of Brighton, England and Stephen (Tracy Evans) of Carmel Valley, California and four grand- children-Joe, Alex, Emily and Ainsley. He is also survived by brother Harold (Gloria Campbell) and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his first son Charles at age 5 of spinal meningitis in 1966 and his beloved stepdaughter, Stefanie Smart, who succumbed to cancer in 2011 at age 45. A Celebration of Life in Honolulu is pending.