Oldest living Longhorn football player still a picture of health

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by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE NEWS

kens5.com

Posted on September 17, 2010 at 8:58 PM

When the University of Texas travels to Lubbock to take on the Red Raiders tomorrow night, one special Texas Ex will be watching the game as he's done for the last eight decades.

John P. Henderson, 97, played for the Longhorns from 1934-35.  

"There is no comparison between the game in those years and today," said John P. Henderson, the oldest living Longhorns football player.

We wore a leather helmet, I never heard of a facemask," said Henderson.

The Longhorns were still about 30 years away from a national championship, but Henderson recalls they were pretty good his junior year in 1934 when the team finished 7-2-1.

"We beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame 7 - 6, beat O.U. and also beat A&M that year," said Henderson.

Henderson's biggest victory though came several years later, when he convinced Charlotte, whom he had met on campus his senior year, to marry him.

"It took me about five years to get her to say yes," said Henderson.

"I'd gone with him long enough and I knew he was the fella," said Charlotte Henderson, John's wife.

After his UT days, Henderson taught school and coached football for three years and then took a job with an oil company in Baytown, a job that lasted 36 years.

"We always said as soon as I retire, we're going to move back to Austin," said John Henderson.

And they did in 2009.  They moved into Longhorn Village in Steiner Ranch, where just about every day one can see Henderson  walking a mile or two and working out in the weight room.

"I hope that when I'm even close to that age, if I get that far, I hope I have the same enthusiasm, the same joy for life and you never seen them cross they have a happiness that makes everybody feel the same," said Ron Macha, a sales representative for Longhorn Village.

As for being the oldest living longhorn football player, Henderson said, "I feel honored that I've been able to live that long and be the oldest."

The Henderson's have been married for 70 years and have had season tickets to Longhorn football games for just about as long.   

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