Lee Henderson at the Community Forum in August, 2013.
Lee Henderson at the Community Forum in August, 2013 — MinnPost photo by John Whiting.

We had such sad news last week – Lee Henderson, a stalwart champion of the Minnesota Orchestra, died suddenly and unexpectedly last Thursday.

As a lawyer from the business world, Lee was very much aware of the Orchestra’s need for financial stability, but he was also totally committed to maintaining artistic excellence.  During the lockout, Lee wrote several op-ed articles exploring creative ways for the community to sustain a world-class orchestra and invited others to pledge their support (which they did).  Last summer, recognizing the urgent need for rebuilding, Lee offered to raise $100,000 as a challenge grant for the community; the CommUnity Challenge surpassed its goal and ended up garnering a total of almost $300,000 for the Orchestra.

Lee Henderson was a leader in the truest and best sense of the word, a leader who loved music and the MN Orchestra passionately, a leader who left a legacy of dynamic cultural stewardship from which we can all learn. Independent, optimistic and no-nonsense, Lee took decisive action, always true to his principles and his passions.

We are so grateful for Lee’s courage, generosity, and steadfastness, and we believe Lee’s stewardship is a compelling example from which so many can learn so much.  We mourn his untimely passing greatly, but know his legacy of leadership and stewardship will live on for decades to come.  We offer our condolences and deepest sympathy to his wife, Polly, and their family.

The funeral will be held on Thursday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and one of the memorials suggested by the family is for the Minnesota Orchestra.   More details are available here.

Doug Grow has written an article about Lee in MinnPost and Scott Chamberlain has a heartfelt tribute on his blog.

Remembering Lee Henderson