LaWanda Jane Henderson

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2022

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LaWanda Jane Henderson, 88, passed on Sunday, October 23, 2022, at her Beaumont home with family by her side.

LaWanda was born on October 20, 1934, in Linden, Texas to William Leon and Doris Mildred (Steed) Eatman.

LaWanda grew up with curly red hair and loving the outdoors.

She spoke fondly of country farm living in her youth, particularly the days of walking to school, treasure hunting, fishing, and experiencing new adventures on road trips with friends and family.

LaWanda lived with her parents and two brothers, Jerry Leon Eatman and David Benson Eatman in West Orange, Texas.

In the sixth grade, she met the love of her life, Steve “Vernon” Henderson.

Vernon lived down the road from LaWanda throughout their school years.

She had known him for seven years and they had double dated. In 1952, they reconnected at a youth dance in Orange.

LaWanda admired him from across the room and decided to ask him to dance.

After graduation from Lutcher Stark High School, in Orange, Texas, Vernon asked LaWanda to marry him, before he left for his service in the Army.

Vernon and LaWandawere married on November 18, 1953 in Orange, Texas.

They were blessed with five daughters: Cheri Denise, Dani Charisse, twins Teri Melinda and Jeri Belinda, and Lori Lynn.

The young family moved to Bridge City, where they spent most of the their years raising their daughters, playing outdoor sports, working on their farm in Newton County and raising Black Angus cattle in Newton County.

LaWanda had a special love for a bull named Independence, and many ducks, geese, pigs, chickens, and horses.

The family also became expert producers and canners of beets, okra, tomatoes, beans, fruit, figs, cucumbers, and pickles.


LaWanda was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She devoted her life to caring for others, always joyfully and with a smile. After the children grew and started their own families, LaWanda and Vernon became endearingly referred to by family and friends as “Gammer” and “Honey Pa.”


LaWanda worked at Texas State Optical as a frame stylist for a number of years when her children were in school and for over 30 years for Educare and Consumer Directed Services under the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services loving and caring for her grandson, Blake.


LaWanda loved our Lord and was baptized at Harmony Baptist Church.  She especially loved her visits with Brother Michael Procella, with Accent Care Hospice, and her favorite Bible verse was “We love Him because He first loved us” I John 4:19.


LaWanda is survived by her five daughters, Cheri Denise and her husband, Moe Ordou; Dani Charisse Bellamy; Teri Melinda and her husband, Steve Beshear; Jeri Belinda and her husband, Victor Suire; Lori Lynn Smith; brother, Jerry Leon Eatman; 9 grandchildren: Candice, Chad, Tina, Terianne, Michael, Laci, Cody, Lauren and Blake; 14 great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews, extended family, and many friends.


LaWanda was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Steve Vernon Henderson; parents, William Leon and Doris Mildred Eatman; brother, David Benson Eatman; and sister-in-law, Judith Dickey Eatman.


LaWanda was ever present for her family throughout her life. She had a deep appreciation for things that could not be replaced, particularly antiques, decorations, and family cookbooks. To quote Gammer, “Be with your family. Love them. Play with them. Reach them.”


The family would like express special recognition for the love and exceptional hospice care provided by Dr. Maria Blahey, Accent Care Hospice, Erica McPhatter, R.N., aides Kanisha, Shanika, Alisha and Chaplain Michael Procella.


The funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 29, 2022, at 11:00am at Dorman Funeral Home, 8808 Highway 87 North, Orange, Texas. Visitation hour will be held immediately preceding the service at 10:00am.  Burial will follow in the Autumn Oaks Cemetery, Orange, Texas.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at