GORHAM – Charles Henderson, a drafting engineer for S.D. Warren Paper Co. and a longtime chairman of the Westbrook Planning Board, died Tuesday. He was 93.

Mr. Henderson was described by his friends and family Wednesday as an easygoing and hard-working man who was dedicated to serving the city of Westbrook.

He was on the Planning Board from 1971 to 1987, according to city records, and was chairman of the board for most of those years.

“I liked his style of running the meetings,” said Edward Reidman, the current chairman of the Planning Board. “He didn’t take any grief from anyone who was presenting to the board. It was his meeting and he ran it as he saw fit.”

Mr. Henderson served on several other city committees, including the Planning Grant Advisory Committee in 1985 and the Westbrook Regional Vocational Committee in 1980.

City Councilor Mike Sanphy said Mr. Henderson was a great guy and took pride in serving on the Planning Board.

“He put his whole heart and soul into his job,” Sanphy said. “It was his mission in life. As he got older, I think it kept him going.”

Mr. Henderson joined S.D. Warren around 1945. In his 35 years with the paper company, he worked as a draftsman, a designer, assistant to the chief designer and supervisor of project engineering. He retired in 1980.

He was married to Arline Henderson for 57 years. They didn’t have children.

The couple enjoyed traveling and gardening together. They made regular trips to Vermont and usually spent the month of March in Florida, visiting family members. She died in January 2005.

Mr. Henderson’s niece, Susan Graham of Westbrook, said they did everything together.

“They had a very loving relationship,” Graham said. “He was really lost for a while (after she died). They just had each other, and they had us too. He took me and my brothers under his wing.”

Mr. Henderson was a well-respected land surveyor in Westbrook for decades. He was also an active member of American Legion Post 62.

Robert Barton, a longtime member of the American Legion, said Mr. Henderson will be honored by the legion in a ceremony at his wake today.

“We will do the best we can to say good-bye,” Barton said. “He lived a long life. He was always nice. He was an honest person and he will be missed.”

Mr. Henderson moved into the Gorham House in 2009. He came down with pneumonia in January and never really recovered. He spent the past three weeks at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Graham said she and her brothers and their spouses were with him when he died Tuesday. Graham said she will miss talking with him.

“He liked to tease me. We would razz each other back and forth,” she said.


Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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