Will J. Henderson, kama‘aina in spirit and heart, president emeritus of The Queen’s Medical Center and generous philanthropist, died October 20, 2016. Henderson was 95 years old.
“Will J.” as he was affectionately called, was a legend among Queen’s Medical Center employees. Even years after his retirement, they remember him as the president who knew their names. Will always asked about their families, attended departmental holiday functions, joined employees in their homes for retirement and birthday parties, and spoke on behalf of employees’ families at memorial services.
Will’s commitment to the well-being of each employee was extraordinary. He believed that all his employees were unique and played a valuable role in the success of the Queen’s mission.
Will established three educational scholarship funds at Willamette University in Oregon, the Hawai'i Community Foundation, and the Rotary Club of Honolulu.
In 2014, he established the Will J. Henderson Aloha Fund through the University of Hawai'i Foundation, to provide a single scholarship award each year to every third-year medical student at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine.
As a major player in Hawai'i’s health care sector, Will also became involved in the health care industry and education in Hawai’i, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, and the Philippines. In recognition of his numerous contributions, the Emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.
Active in his community, Will was a charter member of the board of directors and first vice president of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i; president of the Japan America Society of Hawai'i (1983-1985); member of the board of trustees at Willamette University (1981-1993), regent and life fellow of the American College of Health-Care Executives, and member of the board of trustees of the American Hospital Association, president of Rotary Foundation of Honolulu, and president of Hawai'i Health Care Association.
A trailblazer, Will was the first academically trained hospital executive in Hawai'i, and outstanding alumnus of Willamette University. He earned a master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and was a Sigma Chi fraternity mentor.
In 2014, when Will established the Will J. Henderson Aloha Fund endowment he said, “I decided to make this gift to recognize JABSOM for the instrumental role it plays in training essential physicians and specialists, and founding relationships and partnerships that will be of value to our community and state for years to come. I also made this gift so that all recipients know that we expect them to successfully complete their medical degrees. I made this early investment in their education as proof of this belief, and hope to be invited to their graduations.”
Honor Will’s memory and make a gift to the Will J. Henderson Aloha Fund. Your support helps our future doctors succeed.