A note from Chris Henderson's daughter Emma
I would like to thank you for your kind words and prayers. It has been a hard few days particularly for mum who met dad 56 years ago!
It is going to be an especially hard road for her having been married for 50 plus years, having four children together, running a business together, serving in the church together as clergy and choir and travelling and living overseas together.
We hope to have the funeral at 930am on Saturday 27 August at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Strathfield.
I will confirm this time and date on Monday once we have visited the cemetery. Everyone is welcome and please pass this onto your networks as I do not have everyone's contact details. For those who cannot make it or are overseas or interstate we know you will be thinking of him.
Vale Chris Henderson, by Graham Peachey
As family, friends and colleagues grieve the passing of Chris , it is timely now to reflect on a life well lived. In brief, Chris was a devoted family man, an active and committed cleric within his Orthodox church and an energetic and thoughtful optometric clinician.
It was Chris Henderson Optometrist that I came to know and respect.
We were both first year optometry students as the UNSW started its B.Optom program in 1960.
Shortly after graduating Chris, with support from Keith Woodland, started a practice at Liverpool. Chris soon became involved in the postgraduate CE study group activities of that time.
After the founder of an American CE program visited Sydney in the early 60’s, Joe Garvin was assigned the task of assessing their program. The concept was that small groups of optometrists would be provided with sample ‘mailings’ that were used by OEPF. They would then meet for group discussion. The success of this concept motivated enough interest for them to bring an American OD to Australia. Chris was a major contributor to the organization of the first lecturer: Dr. Homer Hendrickson in 1968.
The study groups now centered informally around ‘OEPA’, with Joe Garvin as chairman and Chris Henderson as secretary/treasurer and news letter editor. OEPA went on to organize local speakers and more visiting lecturers included Jerry Getman, Bill Ludlam, Bob Kraskin, Nat Flax, John Streff, Marty Birnbaum, Steve Cool, Harry Wachs, Harold Solan and Don Getz
Pathway and Skeffington Fellowships provided us (me in 1973 and Chris in 1974) with six months of life changing professional experience in Americia. Chris, like I, took his young family on the adventure.
When Joe Garvin retired, Keith Woodland volunteered to assume the OEPA chairman role and Chris continued as before. Keith regrettably died in 1980 and Chris then became chairman as well.
In 1987 ACBO was started as a replacement for OEPA and was based on the COVD organizational model. Chris had by then given 20 years of service the organization of CE delivery and needed a retirement plan.
Chris served with distinction as ACBO secretary/Journal Editor during my time as inaugural president and as past president.
For me Chris was a good friend, a respected colleague, a great organization person and someone who would ask the difficult questions.
A personal memory by Bev Roberts
Chris will be remembered for his distinguished career as a Behavioural Optometrist and contribution to setting up the association.
For those of us who graduated Optometry more than 40 years ago, we have seen many changes in the practice of our profession. Optometry as I was taught in university was basically boring and many of my generation used optometry to provide an income and took their passion elsewhere. In the US there was a small group who believed that optometry was far more than “better 1 or 2”, or 6/6 acuity, and they built an understanding of how the visual system develops and functions. The Optometric Extension Program Foundation was the name of this organization.
In the 60’s Chris Henderson embraced this philosophy and became enthusiastic, no, passionate about this philosophy. Chris was the mid-wife for behavioural vision care in this country. Running small but ever growing seminars from his office in Liverpool, with invited speakers from the United States, Chris was instrumental in spreading the word. I was fortunate to attend some of these meetings.
Ever since my “conversion”, optometry has not been just a job, it became a pleasure. I can help other people overcome visual difficulties that other optometrists just ignored.
In the mid 1980’s Chris together with Graham Peachey had a vision to develop of an organization within optometry that catered to the needs of optometrists interested in providing optimum care for patients with visual issues related to developmental delay, functional break down, acquired brain injury and general visual spatial dysfunction. This included learning about binocular vision, lens prescribing and vison therapy. Their vision included developing a rigorous assessment process that would be recognised by the optometric community in general. I am proud to have been asked to become part of the development of this organization. After much discussion the name Australasian Colledge of Behavioural Optometrists was agreed upon and in 1987 ACBO was born with President Graham Peachey, myself as Vice President, Chris as Secretary / Journal Editor and the late Graeme Thompson as Treasurer.
From humble beginnings with grand ideas we now have a strong organization. Behavioural Optometry has morphed from a philosophy to a way of life. Chris you planted and tendered the early years, and for this we can only give our gratitude.
Chris, I do not know whether you were even aware of the huge change that you made to my life, and the lives of many others, but you did; thank you.
Chris Henderson: You made a difference.
Vale Chris Henderson, by Linda Sanet
We are very sad to report that Chris Henderson of Australia passed away last night. The world has lost another one of its amazing Optometric giants. Among many other important contributions to our profession, Chris collaborated with Dr. Gerry Getman on the Visual Manipulation and Visual Recall Tests that many of you may use in your offices.
Chris was a passionate believer in the power of Vision Therapy and worked all of his life to spread the word in his country and internationally, as well as helping many hundreds of his patients achieve to their fullest potential.
Those of you who knew Chris and his beautiful wife Julie are aware of their love of life, compassion, and adventurous spirit.
And those of you who were fortunate enough to spend "down time" with them know of their generous hospitality.