Wanda Alice McKee Henderson passed away peacefully at her Jackson, Mississippi home on September 15, 2021. She was 88 years old.
Classy, elegant, kind and loving are some adjectives one could use to describe Alice. To know her was to love her. His constant positivity and infectious laughter imbued with warmth anyone who crossed his path. From her childhood home on Council Circle in Jackson, her years living in New Orleans, her warm and welcoming farmhouse on Southwood Road, to her place at The Orchard in her later years, everyone who knew Alice in During these different phases of her life were friends that she made to feel like family.
Alice was born to Wanda O’Daniel McKee and Clyde Vernon McKee Sr. in Pontotoc, Mississippi on December 17, 1932, the youngest of three children. Alice’s mother died of an illness when Alice was three years old. Her father then married Ruth Porter, who helped raise Alice. Her two beloved older brothers, Clyde Vernon McKee Jr. and John Max McKee, also helped care for Alice. A family story goes that Clyde, Alice’s 18 oldest, has to babysit her by bringing her to some of her college events and parties. Later, Clyde’s wife, Mary Louise Bevil McKee, was also often Alice’s mother figure.
Alice graduated from the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, where she was a member of the Chi Omega sorority. Alice and her husband, John, were proud and long-time donors to her alma mater, Trinity University in Texas, and hers, Ole Miss. They created the John P. and Wanda Alice Henderson Council Scholarship to Ole Miss which helps ensure students not only are supported in their academic studies, but also benefit from expanded experiences such as trips to cultural venues and dinners. monthly with life lessons. They were also long-time benefactors of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the First Baptist Church of Jackson. After college, Alice went to work in New Orleans, as executive secretary of the Shell Oil Company for many years. Her nieces and nephews remember walking past the gigantic Shell skyscraper in New Orleans and hearing Alice tell about her adventures while she lived and worked there years before, like taking the streetcar to go work, all with his characteristic smile and laugh.
It was in New Orleans that Alice met the love of her life, former Navy Captain John Pinkney Henderson. John, a longtime ExxonMobil Corp. employee, invited Alice and her friend to a working lunch one day, and afterwards Alice wrote John a thank you note. John was extremely impressed with her thank you note and darling dresses and fell in love. Alice and John married in 1967. They spent many years living in the Garden District and enjoying New Orleans’ social scene. Their nieces and nephews fondly remember trips to visit them in New Orleans, where Alice and John took them to the best restaurants and social clubs, such as “Friday Lunch” at Galatoire, where Emery, friend and longtime waiter. date, was taking care of him. of them. Everyone had a good time.
Alice and John returned to Jackson to care for Alice’s father, Clyde, who later retired from his post as Superintendent of Mississippi Schools, and they became active in their church, the First Baptist Church of Jackson. , for many decades. Their long-standing friendships created through this fellowship have provided another valuable source of love for the Hendersons over the years. Alice’s faith was strong and unwavering, and comforted her through her grief when she lost John on February 7, 2011, at the age of 95.
The Hendersons were among the most active members of Jackson’s social scene. Alice had a social calendar that would rival that of any teenager. Any Friday and Saturday night, you might find Alice and John assisting or hosting one of their many “Supper Clubs”. Alice was an accomplished host and encouraged her nieces and grandnieces at a young age to start thinking about a collectible porcelain and silver design. Alice was thrilled to have her in her beautiful Southwood Road home, which she helped design, and held many joyful gatherings there. Her beloved nieces and nephews will fondly remember their visit and waking up to have a café au lait (coffee with chicory) and rejoice each morning with Alice and John in the “sun room”, reading newspaper or discussing the latest Rebel or Saints football. Thu Sunday morning after church, the couple met at “The Club,” the Jackson Country Club, where they had been loved for decades.
Alice possessed a seemingly effortless skill to elevate any situation to make it more fun and glamorous. Great-nephews John Kent and Cameron recall having fun blowing out candles with a variety of stylish snuffers that she would take out and ask them to start sifting the flames. Her family and friends will no doubt remember her famous Café Royale set that she took out at the end of her multi-course dinners – events that characterize her joie de vivre – which involved lighting burning, soaked sugar lumps. of cognac, to everyone’s delight. She once sent her husband, John, who was then elderly, her older brother, Clyde, her nephew Tad, and her grandnephew, Robert, a little boy at the time, to acquire a new torch. to make it perfectly crispy. crème brûlée, because hers had malfunctioned. Hilariously, store after store, the seemingly ‘motley’ team walked away thinking they might want to use the torch to cook up a more nefarious non-dessert substance. Stories like these brought a lot of laughter for many years to the family, and Alice always laughed.
Years later, after John passed away, you could find Alice in her immaculately decorated apartment, for which Alice had asked a decorator to find a place for many of her beautiful furnishings and decorations from her Southwood home. Her unit was resplendent with chandeliers, framed oil paintings, and antique furniture. And despite years of Alzheimer’s disease in this last phase of life, Alice’s soft laugh and her soft, heartwarming drawl never faltered. She found humor in everything and was witty and happy until the end. “I love you, my dear”, will forever remain an imprint in the memory of his family and his dear friends. We will celebrate and always remember our beloved Alice.
Alice is happily welcomed into Heaven by her late husband, John Pinkney Henderson, her mother and father, Wanda O’Daniel McKee and Clyde V. McKee Sr., and her stepmother Ruth Porter McKee, her brother and sister-in-law , Clyde Vernon McKee Jr. and Mary Louise Bevil McKee, as well as his brother and sister-in-law, John Max McKee and Carolyn McKee.
Alice is survived by her nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, great-grandparents and cousins, for whom fond memories and words like “dear heart” and “little one” will always evoke gratitude for having been bound. to such a wonderful human being and delicious soul. Family members mourning her loss include niece, Ann McKee Calhoun and her spouse Kent of McKinney, TX, and grandnephews, John Kent Calhoun and her spouse Kerregan, Cameron Calhoun and her spouse Brooke and son Cason; nephew, Clyde V. McKee III “Tad” and wife Terese of Orange, TX, and grandniece, Emily McKee Mellen and wife Austin, and grandnephew, Robert McKee and wife Sarah and son Colbin; niece, Wanda McKee Fowler and spouse Roger of Houston, TX, and great-nieces, Alex and Julia Fowler; and nephew, Cooper McKee and wife Mary of Allen, TX, and grandnieces, Kelly McKee Davis and wife Houston, Carrie McKee and her daughter Raven, and Carolyn McKee and her daughters Tori, Sienna and Sierra; cousins, Dan and Connie Massie of Germantown, TN, and their families; niece Sherill and spouse Bob Stewart of Round Rock, TX, and grandnephew, Clark and spouse Patricia; niece, Lanell Hays and spouse Rick Friedman of Los Angeles, CA; niece, Nancy Crist Fairchild of Altanta, GA, and grandniece, Elizabeth Cervantes and wife Jose, and sons Max and Gus, and great-niece, Kate Fairchild and great-nephew, Mac Fairchild and wife Elisabeth, nephew John Crist of ‘Atlanta, GA, and great-nephew Robbie Crist and his wife Nena, and great-niece Mary Harlan Haskins and wife Patrick and children Aidan and Jace; niece JoAnne Crist of Dallas, TX, and grandnephew Tom Crist and spouse Mallory and daughter Shayna Blair.
Alice is also survived by many dear friends, helpers and babysitters, whom Alice considered family over the many years she had known them. This includes the Care Coordinator, Shirley Buckley, caregivers: Phyllis McCaskill, Shirley Gordon, Tonya Moore, Vera Johnson and Dorothy Walker, as well as nurses and staff at The Orchard.
A visit will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 19, 2021, at the First Baptist Church of Jackson (431 N. State St., Jackson, MS, 39201).
The funeral will follow at 2:00 p.m., also at the First Baptist Church of Jackson, Minister President Tom Washburn, followed by a funeral service at Lakewood Funeral Home and Memorial Park (6011 Clinton Blvd, Jackson, MS, 39209).
Honorary bearers will be Clyde V. “Tad” McKee, III, Cooper McKee, Robert McKee, Kent Calhoun, Cameron Calhoun, John Kent Calhoun, Roger Fowler, Houston Davis IV, Austin Mellen, Dan Massie, Bob Stewart, Coleman Lowry, Bill Sistrunk and Otis Johnson.
Contributions can be made on her behalf to the John P. and Wanda Alice Henderson Council Fellowship at the University of Mississippi. To contribute, send checks with the name of the endowment listed in the line of the memo to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., University, MS 38655; or visit www.umfoundation.com/makeagift; or contact 662-915-5944 or [email protected]