URBANA — Kathryn (Kathie) Luther Henderson, 99, died at home on Thursday, August 18, 2022.
She was born on July 12, 1923 in rural Champaign County, the first daughter of Carl Frederick and Ida Lietz Luther. Born on the family farm purchased by her paternal grandparents on February 22, 1893, she was very proud to be the current owner of Luther Farm, which was officially designated a Centennial Farm by the Illinois Department of Agriculture in 1993. She was determined to be self-employed until the onset of her final illness on her 99th birthday.
Kathie attended the rural one-bedroom Equity school down the road from the farm for an elementary education and then completed junior and senior high school in Champaign. She received all of her college degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: an AB in history and English in 1944, a BS in library science in 1948, and an MS 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 in the University of Illinois Library, first as clerk from 1944 to 1946 and then as serial catalogist from 1950 to 1953.
After her marriage to William (Bill) T. Henderson on August 22, 1953, she moved to Chicago, where she held positions as lending librarian (1953–1956) and senior cataloger (1956–1965) at McCormick Theological Seminary.
In 1965, Kathie was asked to join the faculty of the Graduate School of Library Science (now the School of Information Sciences) and returned to Urbana. Bill took a job as an archivist in the university library and Kathie followed her mentor Ethel Bond (who had assisted her during her studies) in teaching Cataloging and Classification I and II. She then developed and taught Technical Services Functions and Preserving Information Resources. She “redesigned” her courses each time they were offered to reflect current trends and incorporate the latest readings from the literature. As early as 1971 she developed computer-assisted lessons for cataloging with PLATO. She regularly received excellent ratings from students in course evaluations and was recognized at the campus level in 1991 for her significant contributions as a teacher with the Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching.
In 1993 she received the Library School Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in recognition of her many contributions as an educator. Additionally, at the 1993 American Library Association Conference, she was recognized as the winner of the 1993 Beta Phi Mu Award, citing her “distinguished teaching and service record that defines an unusual level of excellence and has challenged and inspired a generation of librarians and librarians.” has educators.”
In 1995 she received the ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award from the Association for Library and Information Science Education. In 2014, Beta Phi Mu’s Alpha Chapter established the Kathryn Luther and William T. Henderson Award in recognition of the high regard they had from other chapter members and to inspire future generations with their example.
In addition to teaching, Kathie frequently supervised the research of master’s, undergraduate and doctoral students.
Kathie has been a longtime member of several professional organizations, including the American Library Association and the American Theological Library Association. She served and chaired numerous committees related to technical services, cataloging and classification. She served on the Editorial Board for Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, with former students Ruth C. Carter and Sandra K. Roe serving as senior editors. As a faculty member, Kathie planned a series of conferences and edited the proceedings on subjects such as MARC records and their uses, important classification systems, conservation and preservation of library materials, and the unique problems of non-book formats.
While Kathryn Luther Henderson has made numerous research and service contributions, her most valuable legacy is the hundreds of students she has taught. The students were inspired by her example to become passionate about librarianship and to strive for excellence in their work just as she sought excellence in teaching. She maintained contact with many of her former students and enjoyed following their careers and contributions to the field.
Kathie was a member of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Champaign; a United Way of Champaign County pillar; and served the Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation in selecting agricultural grant recipients.
Kathie was preceded in death by her parents Carl Frederick and Ida Lietz Luther; her beloved younger sister Mildred (Millie); and her beloved husband Bill.
For those wishing to contribute gifts in Kathie’s memory, the following is suggested:
— 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 house cat, Leo, came from CCHS.
— Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation for the 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 charity of the donor’s choice.
Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy is making the arrangements (morganmemorialhome.com). A private funeral service will be held at the grave. A celebration of Kathie’s life will come at a later date.