Mel Henderson, 76, of The Villages, Fla., passed away March 5, 2023 near his home with his wife of 57 years, Jean Marie, by his side, as always. A native of Norfolk, Va., Mel was born July 29, 1946, and spent more than 30 years enjoying his familiar Tidewater coastal community and life on the Chesapeake Bay. A metalsmith by trade following graduation from Granby High School, Mel began a decades-long career of service to his nation in the aircraft hangars at Norfolk Naval Air Station, leading to logistics and planning positions for the Department of Defense at Patuxent River Naval Air Test Center and relocation with his family to Hollywood, Md. in 1978. Following his 2002 NAVAIR retirement celebration with long-time friends, colleagues, and military leaders and several subsequent consulting roles, Mel and Jean transitioned to The Villages to enjoy some well-deserved golf and many relaxing, sunny days together. Preceded in death by his parents Robert M. Henderson, Sr. and Grace Evelyn Henderson and his sister Brenda Hinton, Mel is survived by his wife Jean Henderson, son Bruce Henderson and daughter-in-law Jennifer, son Craig Henderson and daughter-in-law Karen, and — always their biggest fan — grandchildren Jessica Henderson, Brooke Henderson, Brady Henderson, and Chase Henderson. Mel's lifelong example of hard work, sacrifice, and selfless dedication to family and friends will be forever remembered and emulated by all those who learned from and loved him. Online condolences may be shared at www.hiers-baxley.net . In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Parkinson's Foundation, Cornerstone Hospice, or your community hospice organization.