Jerome D. "Jerry" Henderson, Ed.D.

Jerome D. "Jerry" Henderson, Ed.D.

1938 - 2018

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Jerome D. "Jerry"

Obituary of Jerome D. "Jerry" Henderson, Ed.D.

Dr. Jerry Henderson, 79, of Bay City, Michigan, our devoted, passionate, and talented husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away on the afternoon of Saturday, June 16, 2018, at Brian’s House Hospice.


Born in Malone, New York on November 19, 1938, Jerry was the son of the late Robert A. and Charlotte (Disque) Henderson. He graduated from Franklin Academy High School in June of 1956, then went on to study at the University of Rochester, NY, Paul Smiths College in Paul Smiths NY, and Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. Jerry completed his undergraduate career at Hartwick College where he earned a B.A. in Psychology in 1962.

While enrolled at the University of Rochester, Jerry participated in the Navy ROTC Program and served on the USS Macon.


Jerry continued his education as a graduate student at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he was awarded a two-year graduate assistantship which served as the beginning of his illustrious teaching career. His years at Temple culminated with his M.A. in Mass Communications in 1964.

He went on to earn his Doctorate in Education, with a focus on Educational Communications and Technology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1975. His ground-breaking doctoral dissertation, written long before the advent of the PC, was a computer program designed to analyze and direct computer systems for the teaching of broadcasting (Simulated Operational Broadcast Emergency Response or SOBER 1). Many instructional computer programs for broadcasting in use today are based on his work.


Jerry was Professor of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts for many years at Central Michigan University where his beloved students often referred to him as “Dr. Jerry”. Prior to his tenure at CMU, Jerry was an Assistant Professor at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, an instructor for speech at University of Maine, Orono, and a speech and drama instructor at Lamar State College of Technology in Beaumont, TX. In between semesters in 1980,  Jerry served as a production assistant and driver for NBC. He worked as a radio programmer at various stations in NY, PA, TX, and ME, and was a recording and editing engineer at Magnetic Recorder and Reproducer Corporation. Early in his career, Jerry was a staff writer for the Malone Evening Telegram.


 Jerry believed in giving back to the community and he positively impacted many, many lives. He was formerly a Commissioner for the Lake Huron Area Council, member of the EMS Commission in Isabella County, volunteer firefighter in Shepherd until 2002, a member of the Michigan State Firemen’s Association Board of Directors, and Central Michigan Firemen’s Association. He also was a Certified Fire Training Instructor. He was passionate about his volunteer firefighting/EMS work. After his retirement he enjoyed working alongside area fire departments as a freelance photographer. Jerry was a member of National Association of College Broadcasters, Broadcast Education Association, and the National Association of Educational Broadcasters.


Jerry was active in Scouting. He was an Eagle Scout and Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow. He held many positions within the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of America spanning the course of several decades. Once his sons were no longer in scouting, Jerry continued to give back to his community as a member of the Bay County Parks Association, helping to secure funding and organizing the erection of a new pavilion in 2013.


Throughout his career, Jerry received numerous accolades, including: being invited to the first annual iEmmys festival at the University Club in New York (one of only 30 academics invited), 4th place and 3rd place award for “Broadcast and Cinematic Arts Website;” Firefighter of the Year in 1993 (Shepherd Tri-Township Fire Dept.), Who’s Who in America, 1980 and 1982, Who’s Who in the Midwest, 1978-1980, Who’s Who in Education, 1967-1969, J.S. Mack Educational Grants, 1972 and 1974, Westminster College, as well as many other awards and recognitions.


Jerry was committed to Central Michigan University and his students. He was a Professor Emeritus, and a member of the faculty since 1975. Station Operations Manager since the mid-1970’s, he shepherded station WMHW-FM from 10-watt to 13,000-watt HD status, training hundreds of students in station operations and paving the way for many of them to win a wide-range of awards, as well as pursue highly successful radio industry careers.


He served more than three decades as an advisor to the university’s chapter of the National Broadcasting Society/Alpha Epsilon Rho, guiding it to Chapter of the Year and Model Chapter of the Year recognitions. Innumerable student awards in the NBS annual production competition were attained under his guidance. He developed a variety of broadcasting classes for the university, including an industry lauded sales course. Jerry served many years as the curricular representative for the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts. He was the creator of the original BCA website and introduced moving graphic images, long before these were in wide use on the Web. Ever pushing the envelope of technology, he pioneered production work through podcasting while at CMU. The Central Michigan Radio Complex that bears his name is a testament to his contributions to the university and academia.


Jerry lived many lifetimes during his time here. He was an incurable romantic and lover of life. He had an unrivaled sense of humor and could best anyone at puns and jokes. He will forever be remembered for his love of model trains. He enjoyed spending time in the woods. Camping, skiing, and fishing are just a few of the outdoor activities he shared with his family through the years. Jerry was an artist, musician, carpenter, writer, and sometimes inventor. One of his favorite hobbies was tying intricate flies for fishing. If there was a piano close by, you might find him playing “Penthouse Serenade” or a jazz piece of his own composition. While at Lamar State College, he invented a machine for radio broadcasts that was crank operated and simulated the sound of a horse and buggy. If it needed building, he would design and create it.


Of all this, he would tell you without hesitation that his greatest joy was the love and successes of his family.


He leaves to cherish his memory: his wife, Jean Coleman-Henderson; children, Kathryn Balteff (Brian), John (Donna) Henderson, Chris (Jody) Henderson, Kevin (Brandy) Henderson, Alexander Henderson, Amy Henderson; former wives and mothers of his children, Joanne Williams and Sheila Henderson; siblings, James Henderson (Martha) and Tracie Lefler: along with many nieces, nephews, fifteen grandchildren, eighteen great-grandchildren and more friends than can be counted.


Jerry’s legacy will live on for generations to come. A memorial will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be directed to:


1.  Brian's House Hospice Care

Memory of Jerry Henderson

664 W. Nebobish rd.

Essexville, Mi. 48732


2. Shepherd Tri-Twp Fire Department

Memory of Jerry Henderson

410 N. Chippewa St.

Shepherd, Mi. 48883



Memory of Dr. Jerry Henderson

Central Michigan University 

340 Moore Hall

Mt. Pleasant, Mi 48859


4. Donations to Family via PayPal or Zelle:


Expressions of sympathy may be shared with the family online at