Henry Milton Apperson

Henry Milton Apperson, 84 of Whitney, passed away Sunday, March 25, 2018 at his residence.

Celebration of Life Service:  2PM Saturday, May 5, 2018 at Lake Shore Funeral Home Chapel.

Henry was born in 1933 on the Gulf Coast in Beaumont to Thomas Jefferson and Mary Bush Apperson.  He attended Nederland High School and received numerous high school academic and athletic awards. He was class president, a 4-H Gold Star winner, and also lettered in multiple sports.  He was given the nickname “Whistle Britches” by his football coach, “Bum” Phillips.

Henry held a B.A. and M.A. in History from Baylor University.  His professional career included serving churches in Texas and California as a Baptist Minister, a seismologist in offshore oil exploration, a flood control engineer in California, and developed a program of road relocation studies around Lake Waco in 1960-61 for the McLennan County Engineer.

Henry found his way to McLennan Community College in 1968, where he taught U.S. History and designed the first Geography course for MCC that same year.  Henry was the “Voice of the Highlanders”, broadcasting for over 25 years, and often traveled with the teams to out of town games (including the JUCO Baseball World Series in Colorado).

Through MCC’s professional development program, Henry produced several volumes of work on the devastation of the New Orleans basin by Hurricane Katrina; chemical pollution from refineries in the Houston area; a hands-on study of the “Virginia Dynasty” of George Washington, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson; and a visual presentation of his trip to the Berlin Wall a week after it was dismantled in November 1989. Henry involved his students in a project to research the West Fertilizer plant explosion.  The 6 volume results were handed over to the First Baptist Church of West to be donated to the West City Library. He is also the author of the book “A History of West, Texas 1836-1920”.

Perhaps Henry’s favorite work was sharing the story of the excavation of the Steamboat Arabia, which sank in 1856 and was excavated in 1989. More than 200 tons of artifacts can now be seen at the Arabia Museum in Kansas City, Mo.

As an educator, Henry’s philosophy was simply “people are more important than things”. This was clearly demonstrated by many former students who kept in touch with him and MCC through regular communication.  As a long-time fixture in the history department of MCC, he was inducted into the MCC Hall of Fame and retired in Aug of 2017 marking 49 years.

Some of Henry’s hobbies included playing golf at Bosque Valley Golf Course in Meridian and being an avid bass fisherman (once owning a fishing guide service).  He was a season ticket holder for the Baylor Lady Bears basketball games; had a pilot’s license at one time and had a huge love for books. He was a member of the Whitney Masonic Lodge #355 A.F.& A.M..

He was preceded in death by his sister, Virginia Combs, and brother, Tommy Apperson.

Henry is survived by his wife, Darlene; daughters, Shariett Lynn Apperson, Lora JaNelle Grimes and husband, Rick; sons, Corwin Scott Apperson and wife, Jaki, Joseph Mitchell Apperson, Chad Pelham and Justin Towlsee; sisters, Jackie Hankins, Gayle Ingram and husband, Homer, Beth Votaw and husband, Dennis, Gloria Schroeder and husband, Ron; sister-in-law, Sandy Apperson; brother-in-law, Milton Neese and wife, Linda; grandchildren, Angela Carroll, Eli Salem and wife, Jane, Joshua Grimes and wife, Alex, Marcus Grimes, Zakree Apperson and wife, Brooke, Leah Apperson, Destini Pelham, Haleigh Deal and husband, Jacob and Mason Pelham; great-grandchildren, George, Sarina, Reece, Charley, Gracie and Tinzleigh; “adopted” daughter, Kate McKee and husband, Cris, along with granddaughter, Gracie.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions should be made to McLennan Community College, Henry Apperson Scholarship or go to www.mclennan.edu/foundation.

Contact Information:

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Place of Service: Lake Shore Funeral Home Chapel , 5201 Steinbeck Bend; Waco, TX 76708



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Condolence Messages

  1. Henry was a Wonderful Professor, Mentor, and Friend. He has influenced my life from the first day I was in his class almost 30 years ago. His guidance has help me both a personal and professional basis. I will miss him dearly, Love you Henry, Gods Speed.

  2. Richard Gonzalez

    Henry was my all time favorite college professor and a good friend. He always gave me great advice about things in life. He loved eating our family restaurant (El Conquistador). I will miss him dearly. Prayers for peace, comfort, and healing for the family.

  3. When I first met Henry (We called him the Hammer) I met him as Joseph’s Dad. Joseph and my son Jeff went to school together since 3rd grade and the boys and many other boys got to know Henry through his love for his son and his passion for the game for the game of baseball. He always had an encouraging word for each and every boy and never was at a ball game without snacks and drinks for the boys. He was larger than life and left a lasting impression on everyone he ever met. I will miss his wit and kindness and love for his students and children of any age. Gods speed my friend. Sending love to Joseph and the rest of the Apperson Family. Annie Glasgow

  4. I will miss you greatly, seems like just yesterday I was your teachers helper in US History, you and I took to each other (a great mentor & friend). You were an amazing author, an intelligent man who had unforeseen knowledge and kindness and a little mischievous. When a friend told me you passed yesterday, I felt so sad. You will be missed. I wasn’t just your student but your friend and knew your family on a personal level and been to your house and had cool conversations with you, got invited to your 80th birthday party. I miss you Henry…😭😩

  5. So sorry for your loss he was such a nice man.

  6. I can never look at history the same as when I was a kid. Thanks to my good pal Henry, father of one of my coolest girlfriends- Shari, I am reborn in history with a refreshed attitude! Thanks for being my friend Henry and God Bless your peaceful journey.

  7. Such a sweet man, with some amazing stories! I could listen to his stories for hours (and he would let us 😉). I was in one of his last classes that he taught last year, prior to his health issues. I consider myself lucky to have been able to be in one of his classes. He was an extraordinary teacher! He will be dearly missed and never forgotten.

  8. It was a delight to hear Henry’s telling of History and his invitations to swing by the house to have a cold beverage. I still haven’t read anything by Will and Ariel Durant…but maybe I will now.

  9. Susie Gilleland

    Darlene, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I am so blessed to have seen him recently and to have been able to cook for you two. He will be greatly missed.

  10. The first time I met Mr. Apperson was in 1968 at Richfield High School, the first and only year that he taught high school history. In high school about the least appealing subject is history, but not so with Henry. He kept all of us entertained and in line. The next time that I saw him was not until 1976. I was enrolled in night classes at MCC and taking 9 hours. I was working full-time and had two children at home, ages 5 and 3 and about mid way through the semester I found out I was having another baby. One evening in class I felt a very light tap on my shoulder and heard Henry asking me if I was okay. I had my head on the desktop and was fast asleep in class. He helped to the teachers lounge and told me to rest and call my husband. If it had not been for his kindness and concern, I would not have been able to finish that semester. He did require all assignments be finished but he worked with me to allow a little extra time if I needed it. It took me until 1998, going to school at night, to earn my Bachelors Degree. I can tell you that without the dedication and compassion of educators like Henry, I would not have been able to achieve my goal. I have shared this story many, many times. I will never forget him.

  11. Henry was a good friend, confidant, supporter, and golfing buddy. I still have the piece of the Berlin Wall that he gave me, and his stories of the concentration camps he visited in Europe will not be forgotten. The world needs more Henry Appersons, but he’s in a better place. One where the 7 irons always go straight and true. God speed, Henry.

  12. May the love of those around you provide comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead. We offer our most sincere condolences for your loss of dear Henry.

    In Deepest Sympathy,
    The Providence Hospice Team

  13. Oh “Henry Brother” – I love you dearly! What a great friendship we had for “all” of my life! My deepest condolences to his family. He will be missed. Thanks for the memories!

  14. Henry was my mentor, very close friend, favorite professor, favorite golfing buddy. My condolences to Darlene and his family. I loved him and miss him dearly.

  15. I am heartbroken. Dr. Henry Apperson was one of a kind…an extraordinary storyteller, unassuming professional, generous and patient mentor, devoted friend…with a sweet spirit and quick smile. I was in his class at Richfield in 1967-1968 and was eager to get to MCC to be in several more. When James and I married in 1971, he performed the ceremony and the recording of the service and his message of love and guidance to us is treasured. When James’ mother passed away in 2001, he held the graveside service…personal, comforting, and encouraging. A sporadic email from him over the years always brightened my day. One evening in 2013, walking across a parking lot at MCC, headed in to teach a Tarleton class, I heard someone say “Don’t I know you?” And there he was, leaving for the day, with the same quick smile and friendly sweet spirit of a mentor and friend I will love and miss forever. He offered a burger, a visit, and the insights of an accomplished educator if I arrived earlier sometime. I promised to try, but regretfully was never early enough. Looking forward to a raincheck when I see him again in Heaven. Shari, JaNelle, Scott, Joseph and family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Donna Adams Zemanek

  16. I was very lucky to have known such a special person. He truly was a light in my life.

  17. Traci Hamstra Pew

    I am so sorry for your family’s loss. You were one of my favorite professors I’ve ever had the pleasure of having. I took every course you offered at MCC and often kept in touch after I moved back to Arizona. Heaven gained a special angel. You are treasure that will be greatly missed.

  18. Earl W. Stinnett

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. Henry Apperson. He was such a blessing to so many students that had the privilege of calling him professor! He was a great man by any measure. Here’s to a life well lived!

  19. Montea Allison Stewart

    Henry was truly an inspiring educator. Never a dull moment, his classes were always something to look forward to attending. He had a knack for making history fun. He will be missed!

  20. Godspeed Dancing Bear

  21. Henry was always in teaching mode, sharing stories and spinning tales that would have faded if not for him. His voice may be silent but he will live on in our collective memories. Thanks, Henry for your friendship lo these many years.

  22. Homer D Trecvino

    He was positive, full of “history”, and full of life.; and full of suggestions as to how one could be a better teacher.

    I had the privilege and honor of being “around him” when I used to teach at McLennan Community College. He knew a lot.

    To his family, very sorry.

    Homer D Trevino

  23. I loved loved loved Mr. Apperson..he always made you feel appreciated and loved in his presence..he was the BEST announcer/commentator at all of MCC games.He 2as the sought after instructor for history classes..You will be missed Mr Apperson..RIP and my condolences to your family.

  24. Henry, I will truly miss you. See you on the other side. Love you, Baby Sis

  25. I was not as fortunate to have known Henry for very long, about 5 years. But I will always remember him for his passionate love for our small golf club, Bosque Valley, while we served on the board together. I could only imagine how passionate he was as a history professor. He left a great legacy for all of us to admire & respect. He will truly be missed by all of us that we’re lucky enough to have known him. “Hope you make many holes in one in heaven, Henry”. Rest in peace.

  26. Jamie Cogburn Veselka

    Our condolences to his family from mine. He was a close friend of my father, Dale Cogburn. I have more childhood memories of him hanging out at my dad’s shop, kicking back a cold one. Enjoying life. I too became a student of his at MCC eventually. One day at class I popped him the question, “Will you marry me?” He had already retired from being a pastor but rejoined/renewed (for lack of the correct term). He officiated at my wedding in 1999. Rest easy Henry. Find my dad and yall go fishing like the old days.

  27. Johanna & Richard Pelham

    Our thoughts & prayers are with you and your family.
    Love & Blessings,
    Johanna & Richard Pelham

  28. The last time I saw Henry, about 3 years ago, he was carrying slides into one of his classes. When asked when he waned to retire, he said “Hey, i like what I am doing and want to keep doing it.” To his credit, and for the benefit of his students, he succeeded! Neat, friendly and always upbeat chap. I, and many others, will miss him.

    Gayle Avant

  29. In 1972 I was just discharged from military service and, after an underwhelming high school career, was sure I needed to get serious about learning. Henry was perfect for that introduction! He brought learning to life. What I didn’t know was, 40+ years later we would still be friends. I’m not sure exactly what quality it involves, but he was always one of the people I did not want to disappoint. Always the Professor – always the dear man. Life this side of the veil has lost some sparkle with his passing, but as he breathes easier, oxygen tanks jettisoned, he has run the good race and won the prize of eternal life. My heart is sad for family and those of us left behind, but I celebrate his life, and the life he now lives. We all love and will miss you, dear friend.

  30. James Burroughs

    I met Henry (Hank) Apperson in 1968 when he came on board to teach history at MCC. We had many lunches together solving all of the world’s problems. Henry had a big heart for his students. He would do everything possible to motivate and assist each of his students in class. He truly wanted to see them learn and become successful.
    He always called me 6 miles an hour out of the east. (personal joke)
    Henry was a friend that we will all miss.

  31. I just found out today and was very saddened by the news. I absolutely loved Mr. Apperson. He was not only my professor, but he was a dear family friend. My prayers are with his family. He leaves behind a great legacy! Love you Mr. Apperson. Rest In Peace. ❤️❤️❤️

  32. People knew Dad by the different hats he wore. Pastor, mentor, teacher, friend. He had a soft spot for the underdog, and possessed keen sense of justice and equality for those who just needed the right connection or opprotunity to prove themselves. He believed in people, and the power of knowledge and voice. He had a huge heart, and was a loving and supportive father. He was also my friend. I’ll meet you at the bank Dad.

  33. Scott , I don’t know if you remember me .W e went to high school together . I am so so sorry for the loss of your dad. hleymy Symapthies to you and your family.
    Robert Ashley.

  34. Almost 50 years ago, Henry officiated at our wedding. Around that same time, my husband Ken and I would go fishing with Henry and my father-in-law Charles Kennedy. One time we were in a little cove and Henry cast my bait for me and handed me the rod. Sure enough, I caught a massive bass. It was never determined exactly who should get credit for catching the fish. I guess I’ll give Henry the credit starting right now. Henry was one of the coolest guys in the world, a great friend to my father-in-law, a man with a wicked sense of humor, and a storyteller without equal. The world lost quite a character! I hope countless wonderful memories comfort all his loved ones.

  35. I’ve only known “Hank” for about 10 years. I returned to school late in life and was lucky enough to have him as a History teacher. His class was always entertaining and informative. Because of my age, I had much more appreciation for his passion and wit. I came back to visit him several times after I finished school, even played some golf (Bosque) and shared some homebrew, on occasion. Out of all his students, I’m probably the only one who actually visited the “Steamboat Arabia” museum in Kansas City. He was truly “one-of-a -kind” and a friend to all. He will be missed… 🙁

  36. Henry was one of my best friends. He was on the board here at Bosque Vallley golf course with me. We spoke almost everyday and his advise helped to save our golf course. He is a GREAT man and I will miss him as a brother. I will truly miss him and I wish the family well. He also helped my son with advice and Talon misses him. Godspeed my dear friend!

  37. Kathryn Mueller

    Henry was one of my husband’s Ken, best friends, and certainly was a “best friend” to all. My children , Kristy, Kirby, Keary and their spouses claim the same! Fishing trips , especially one to Mexico, and to local area lakes, fish fries in our back yard, several for the MCC National Baseball Championships, birthday celebrations , basketball and football games, remain as fond memories. Because of grandchildren’s college and medical schools graduations, we are unable to attend the service, but our thoughts and prayers remain with all of you. Rest in peace, love, guidance, and your heavenly reward, dear friend Henry.
    With love and prayers and condolences, for all of you,
    Kathryn (Kay) Mueller and
    Kristy Mueller Suelflow and Kirby and Keary Mueller and
    their spouses and families

  38. Bettye H Peterson

    Henry! Henry! There’ll never be another character like Henry Apperson. I had the honor of finding Henry a home at Lake Whitney. The biggest attraction for this area was his love for Ms. Darlene. He was determined to find a perfect nest for his future wife. He had a few requirements for this home. It had to be large because he had lots of friends and a large family. It had to be convenient (across the street from the lake). Oh, yes, he loved bass fishing. When Henry saw something that peeked his interest, he wanted to see it then. Who cared if it was midnight or pouring down rain!
    After several months of intense searching, he found the perfect home. He selected a modular house with multiple bedrooms, baths, and 2 kitchens located across the street from Lake Whitney. The icing on the cake was the fact that it was owned by a retired Dallas Cowboy! Henry was thrilled. After 35 years in real estate, I can truthfully say I never encountered a customer like Henry.
    I know that there are hundreds of people who will miss Henry. I am one in that large number. My prayers are with Darlene and the rest of the family as they try to fill the large gap he left behind.

  39. Henry and I spent nearly 50 years together. I will always recall his ready laughter and his compassion for others. Henry traded his history book and classroom for a pair of wings and the universe; however, I personally believe he was allowed to keep his copy of Steamboat Arabia. To me you were “Hanker” or “Hanker Doodle” and I of course was (1) Tiger, (2) Hoss,(3) Big Man. I believe that at least seven out of ten men were “Tiger.”

    The Big Man ( Paul Holder)

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