Whenever you talked to Angelo Henderson, on the phone or in person, you had to work to keep up.
He talked at 78 rpm; so if you were chatting at 33 1/3, you had to increase your speed. (For anyone younger than 30, those numbers refers to old records. For anyone younger than 20, records are big CDS. For teenagers, CDs are something people used to put music on before iTunes.)
Angelo, who lived life at a hundred miles an hour, just never stopped. He didn’t rest until his death on February 15. That’s because knew he had a lot to do. He, after all, had five jobs. And he was successful at all of them.
He was a journalist who rose to the top of the industry, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1999.
He was one of the most popular radio talk show hosts in Michigan.
He was an activist who co-founded a community group, the Detroit 300, that literally changed the way people lived in troubled Detroit neighborhoods.
He was a minister who heeded God’s calling and became a minister, while continuing all of his other work.
But his most important job was as husband and father.
Writing the words “Angelo died” out loud still doesn’t make it real. I needed it to be a false rumor – like the one Wikipedia afflicts on Sinbad every few years, not for his friends, but for his wife and son, Felecia and Grant.
I’ve never seen any couple more in love than Angelo and Felecia, a fellow journalist who was his perfect match, calm to his tornado, grace to his flurry.
And Grant? I’m so glad Angelo got to see his son become the young man they groomed him to be, a 20-year-old college student with real basketball skills.
There is a scene in the film Remember the Titans where Denzel Washington, as Coach Herman Boone, talks to the media about losing a player before the big state championship.
“You cannot replace a Gerry Bertier – as a player or person,” the coach tells gathered media.
Well, Detroit is our team. And you cannot replace an Angelo Henderson. All we can do now is to let him continue to serve as role model and inspiration.
Everything Angelo did, he did in the name of Jesus.
Everything we do should be the same, except, additionally, we should do it — for Angelo.
A group of Angelo’s friends from 14 different states across the country will be working to not just preserve Angelo’s legacy but to lift it up. to find ways to ensure that he is always remembered and to help others as he always did.
Stay tuned for details. But know this: We might, in his honor, be working at a hundred miles an hour.
To join the Angelo Henderson Legacy Project, send an email to Rochelle Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ROCHELLE RILEY is a writer and blogger whose posts here are about her personal adventures. You can read her columns at www.freep.com/rochelleriley and follow her on Twitter @rochelleriley. You can find her Free Press page here on Facebook.