NEWLAND, N.C. — On Tuesday, November 22, 2011, John Rufus Henley, age 83, of Newland passed away.
He was born on March 15, 1928, in Linville to Rev. Donald L. and Agnes Lora Forbes Henley, both of whom are now deceased.
During his life he played semi-pro football and basketball, drove trucks, tagged and sheared trees, sang solos in churches all across the area, sang in his church choir, and rehabilitated a paralyzed dog.
Rufus once drove for 59,000 miles in 13 weeks hauling freight. He attended Newland School and Lees-McRae College before serving in the U.S. Air Force as jet mechanic and trainer to pilots. He was the owner of J.R. Henley Trucking and of Anthony Lake Nursery.
He was a member of First Baptist Church of Newland. He was a Town Councilman in Newland for 24 years, from 1987 until 2011. Yet, for all that he did with his life, he most wanted his life to be a witness of his faith in Christ.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Theodora Thamalis Henley (Teddy), his sister, Dorcas Bartolomedi, and his brothers, David Henley, Nathan Henley, and Donald Henley, Jr.
Rufus is survived by his: sons and daughters-in-law, Steve and March Henley of Newland and Woody Creek, CO, Revs. Jonathan and Elizabeth Coppedge-Henley of Charlotte, NC; grandchildren, Henry Henley, Owen Henley, Lora Henley; sisters, Martha Jackson and husband John of Asheville, NC, Mary Gaddy and husband Everette of Cleveland, TN, Priscilla Myers and husband Carl of Morganton, NC, Esther Henley of Morganton, NC; brothers, Pete Henley and wife Mary Helen, Chris Henley and wife Gerry of Altapass, NC, and Dan Henley of Linville, NC; special friend, Ellen Pabst; and his dog, Princess.
Funeral services for John Rufus Henley will be conducted on Tuesday, November 29th at First Baptist Church Newland at 7:00 p.m. with Dr. Bill Jones, Rev. Jack Bryant and Dr. Ken Harper officiating.
The family will receive friends from 5:30 p.m. until the service hour.
Family, friends and pallbearers are asked to meet at the Funeral Home on Wednesday, November 30th at 9:15 a.m. to go in procession to Tanglewood Cemetery for interment at 10:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Rufus Henley Mission Fund, ℅ First Baptist Church Newland, PO Box 485, Newland, NC 28657.
Words of comfort and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at www.rsfh.net.
Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland is serving the Henley family. 828-733-2121