URBANA – Kathryn (Kathie) Luther Henderson, 99, died Thursday, August 18, 2022 at her home.
She was born July 12, 1923 in rural Champaign County, the first daughter of Carl Frederick and Ida Lietz Luther. She was born on the family farm purchased by her paternal grandparents on February 22, 1893, and was very proud to be the current owner of Luther Farm, officially designated the United States Department of Agriculture’s Centennial Farm. State of Illinois in 1993. She was staunchly independent until the onset of her final illness on her 99th birthday.
Kathie attended the one-room rural school, Equity, down the road from the farm for primary education, then completed her secondary education in Champaign. She received all of her college degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: an AB in history and English in 1944, a BS in library science in 1948, and an M.A. in library science in 1951. Founding member and first national secretary of Beta Phi Mu, the International Honor Society for Library and Information Studies, she held positions at the University of Illinois Library, first as an office assistant from 1944 to 1946, then as a serial cataloger from 1950 to 1953.
After her marriage to William (Bill) T. Henderson on August 22, 1953, she moved to Chicago, where she served as Circulation Librarian (1953-1956) and Chief Cataloger (1956-1965) at the McCormick Theological Seminary.
In 1965, Kathie was invited to join the faculty of the Graduate School of Library Science (now the School of Information Studies) and returned to Urbana. Bill took a position at the University Library as the Preservation Librarian and Kathie followed her mentor Ethel Bond (whom she had helped in graduate school) in teaching Cataloging and Classification I and II. She then co-developed and taught technical services functions and preservation of information resources with her husband, Bill. She ‘redeveloped’ her courses whenever they were offered to reflect current trends and incorporate new readings of literature. She developed computer-based instruction courses for cataloging using PLATO as early as 1971. Consistently receiving outstanding marks from students on course evaluations, in 1991 she was recognized at the campus level for her significant contributions as a teacher with the Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies and Professional Education.
In 1993, she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Library School Alumni Association, in recognition of her many contributions as an educator. Additionally, she was recognized at the 1993 American Library Association Conference as the recipient of the 1993 Beta Phi Mu Award, citing her “outstanding teaching and service discourse that defined a level of common and has challenged and inspired a generation of librarians and librarians. educators.
In 1995, the Association for Library and Information Science Education awarded him the ALISE Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2014, the Beta Phi Mu Alpha Chapter established the Kathryn Luther and William T. Henderson Award in recognition of the high regard in which they were held by fellow chapter members and to inspire future generations by their example.
In addition to teaching, Kathie has frequently supervised research conducted by master’s, advanced certificate and doctoral students.
Kathie was a longtime member of several professional associations, including the American Library Association and the American Theological Library Association. She has served on and chaired numerous committees related to technical services, cataloging and classification. She served on the editorial board of Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, with former students Ruth C. Carter and Sandra K. Roe serving as editor for extended periods. As a faculty member, Kathie planned a number of lectures and edited the proceedings on topics such as MARC records and their uses, major classification systems, conservation and preservation of library materials, and issues particular to formats other than books.
While Kathryn Luther Henderson made many contributions to research and service, her most treasured legacy is the hundreds of students she taught. Students were inspired by her example to be enthusiastic about librarianship and to strive for excellence in their work just as she sought excellence in teaching. She has maintained contact with many of her former students, looking forward to following their careers and contributions to the field.
Kathie was a member of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Champaign; a pillar of United Way of Champaign County; and served the Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation in the selection of agricultural scholarship recipients.
Kathie was predeceased by her parents, Carl Frederick and Ida Lietz Luther; his beloved younger sister Mildred (Millie); and her darling husband, Bill.
For those wishing to make donations in Kathie’s memory, here are the suggestions:
— United Way of Champaign County, Community Impact Fund, 5 Dunlap Court, Savoy IL 61874.
– Champaign County Humane Society, 1911 E. Main St., Urbana, IL 61802. Kathie’s beloved cat, Leo, came from CCHS.
– Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation for Champaign County Agricultural Student Scholarship Fund, 801 N. Country Fair Drive, Suite A, Champaign IL 61821.
— William T and Kathryn Luther Henderson Fund or Mildred Luther and Kathryn Luther Henderson Professorship, University of Illinois Foundation, PO Box 734500, Chicago, IL 60673-4500.
— Or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy is handling arrangements (morganmemorialhome.com). A private memorial service at the cemetery will be held. A celebration of Kathie’s life will be held at a later date.