Mother Mary Lee Henderson the only child of Mrs. Mae Ella and Mr. Charlie “Duke” Jordan was born on January 13, 1938, in Dumas, Arkansas. Her mother later met and married Mr. A. B. Morant, who raised little Mary Lee as his own daughter.
Mother Mary Lee attended both Reed Elementary and Reed High School in the public school system in Dumas, Arkansas. She graduated in 1955, and was the Valedictorian of her class.
Mother Mary Lee held her first job at the Desha County Hospital in Dumas, Arkansas where she worked in the food service department. After moving to Kansas City, Missouri Mother Mary Lee begin employment with Baptist Memorial Hospital. Through her employment with Baptist Hospital Mother Mary Lee went to Penn Valley Community College where she received her Certification in Food Service. Mother Mary Lee was then promoted to “Food Service Supervisor Manager”. Mother Mary Lee worked 33 years for Baptist Memorial Hospital and retired in 1994.
Mother Mary Lee was a very smart and captivating young lady, who loved family. Her dad, Mr. A. B. Morant showed her the characteristic that she should look for in a husband. On one sunny day in Dumas, Arkansas, a handsome young man approached Mother Mary Lee, and that young man was Wellington Bernard Henderson. They fell in love and began a life together. Wellington wanted better for himself and his soon to be wife, so he left for Kansas City, Missouri. After moving and securing a home, he sent for his fiancé and they were married on May 15, 1964. Together they raised four beautiful children that made them proud grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great grandparents.
Mother Mary Lee accepted Christ as her personal savior at an early age and united with the family’s church, Mt. Zion Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. E. L. Skipper. After moving to Kansas City, Mother Mary Lee joined the Zion Grove Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. A. L. Johnson. Her husband was worshipping at another church and he said they should be worshipping together, so in 1968 Mother Mary Lee joined her husband at Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ, under the leadership of Bishop C. N. Rucker. Mother Mary Lee was baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost in 1969. Mother Mary Lee worked in many capacities at the Greater Holy Temple Church, some were Sunday School, Women’s Ministry and the Choir. Mother Mary Lee could be heard every Sunday night on the Live Radio Broadcast of Greater Holy Temple singing the opening selection “He’s the Lily of the Valley”. Mother Mary Lee was elevated to State Choir President of the Central Ecclesiastic Jurisdiction of Missouri under the Jurisdictional Bishop C. N. Rucker.
In 1976, Mother Mary Lee and her husband Elder Henderson answered the call to start a church. On August 1, 1976, Mother Mary Lee and Elder W.B. Henderson along with their four children founded the Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ. Mother Mary Lee would carry on the church service for Elder Henderson while he worked several jobs and his Auto Mechanic Business. Mother Mary Lee leading the Tuesday Night Bible Study was a catalyst that caused the church to grow. The church was growing so they moved from Linwood Blvd. to 45th and Prospect and the church continued to grow and they moved to 73rd and Prospect. The Lord mandated that Elder Henderson build a larger sanctuary and God blessed them with 33 acres to build upon. Mother Mary Lee started many ministries in the church and some of the most popular ministries were “First Lady and Friends”, “Can you Hear me Now” and the “Sugar Shack”. These ministries helped women to become better wives, mothers, and spiritual women of God.
In February 2002, Mother Mary Lee’s husband Elder W. B. Henderson was consecrated as the founding Bishop of Missouri Western Second Jurisdiction. With this elevation, Mother Mary Lee became the founding First Lady of the Jurisdiction. She served as First Lady of the Jurisdiction until Bishop W. B. Henderson was called from earth to glory in 2009. Under the direction of Bishop John Mark Johnson, Mother Mary Lee was installed as Assistant Supervisor of Missouri Western Second Jurisdiction.
Mother Mary Lee loved the Church of God In Christ and traveled to the national Holy Convocation for over 50 years. Mother Mary Lee had a great sense of fashion and loved putting on her best for God. Mother was truly elegance personified!
Mother Mary Lee continued her membership at the Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ, serving under the Leadership of Superintendent Dr. Benjamin Stephens, III. Mother Mary Lee was a faithful member of both her church and the Jurisdiction until God made the clarion call on August 8, 2019.
Mother Mary Lee Henderson was preceded in death by her parents, the love of her life Bishop Wellington Bernard Henderson and one granddaughter Erika Bernae Henderson. She leaves to cherish her memory her children, Janice Emery (Guy), Donna Joseph (William), Kennieth Jones (Dawn) and Gayle Lewis (John), a Special Daughter/Cousin Julia Brown, her grandchildren; Carlos, Nakischa, David, Kristen Williams (Shaun), Kennieth, Whitney, Jasmine and Maurice, her great grandchildren; Jonesha Tribble (Jordan), Sherrie, David, Cal’el, Joshua, Dewayne, Josiah, Aaden and Zariah; great-great grandchild Jace. Brothers in love; Uleses Henderson (Ola), James Riley Henderson, and Preston Dean Henderson (Mary). Sisters in love; Lucille Rumph, and Beverly Henderson-Vincent (Wille). A host of nieces, nephews, cousins, the Trinity Temple Church and Missouri Western Second Jurisdiction. Mother was loved by many and will be greatly missed.