University of Texas legend celebrates 100th birthday, 73 years of marriage

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News

John Henderson will turn 100 on Christmas Eve. On Dec. 22, Henderson and his wife, Charlotte, will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary.

On Dec. 3, more than 200 family members and friends gathered to celebrate the man's long life and legacy.

Henderson is also the oldest living University of Texas football letterman. A lifelong Longhorn "superfan," he and his wife have had season tickets for almost as long as their marriage. Henderson has been to at least one home game every year for the last 80 years.

At Henderson's birthday party, a letter from Austin mayor Mayor Lee Leffingwell was read aloud, in which the mayor declared Dec. 24th as John Henderson Day in Austin, the Alcalde reported.

"Some people bleed orange, but none more appropriately than John Henderson," Leffingwell wrote in his letter. "He still weighs within 5 pounds of his football-playing weight."

Henderson attributes his good health to walking three miles a day — something he's been doing for more than 50 years — and lifting weights in his retirement community's fitness centre.

His greatest victory? His marriage. Henderson met Charlotte on campus during his senior year.

"It took me about five years to get her to say yes," he told KVUE two years ago.

"I hope that when I'm even close to that age, if I get that far, I hope I have the same enthusiasm, the same joy for life and you never seen them cross they have a happiness that makes everybody feel the same," said Ron Macha, a sales representative for Longhorn Village, the retirement community where the Hendersons live.

A beautiful video tribute was presented at the party. Watch below:

As the event neared its end, Henderson spoke to the crowd of well-wishers:

"I'm overwhelmed," he said. "I don't believe I have any words to say. When Charlotte and I were at our wedding 73 years ago, we never expected anything like this in all our lives."