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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Rt. Rev. Willis R. Henton

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The life and ministry of the Rt. Rev. Willis R. Henton, 80, the first Bishop of Western Louisiana, was celebrated at a burial service and Requiem Eucharist Feb. 18 ath the Church of Ascension in Lafayette, La. Bishop Henton died Feb. 16 at Iberia Medical Center in New Iberia, La.

Bishop Henton grew up during the Great Depression as one of eight children on his family's homestead in southwestern Nebraska. After his high school graduation, he enlisted in the infantry, serving in World War II and surviving the Battle of Okinawa. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service during the engagement.

Soon after the completion of his term of service, Biship Henton entered General Theological Seminary, receiving a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1952. During his time at General, Bishop Henton met his future wife, Martha Somerville Bishop. They were married in 1952, and left together almost immediately for mission work in the Mountain Province of the Philippines. Bishop Henton was ordained in 1953 by Suffragan Bishop Lyman Ogilby of the Philippines. From 1952 to 1956, he served at St. Benedicts Mission and at Easter School in the municipality of Besao.

Returning to the United States, he served briefly as curate of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village, New York City, before being called to Christ Memorial Church in Mansfield, La., where he served from 1958 to 1961. From 1961 to 1964, he was rector at St. Augustine's in Baton Rouge, La. For the next seven years, he served as Archdeacon for Education in the Diocese of Louisiana.

He was elected Bishop Coadjutor of Northwest Texas in 1971, where he served until 1980, when he was elected the first bishop of the newly created Diocese of Western Louisiana.

When he retired in 1990, the Hentons moved to New Iberia, where they enjoyed sporting events and Church of the Epiphany, and entertaining friends in their home. They also traveled extensively. Bishop Henton remained active in retirement, supplying for vacationing clergy and filling in during vacancies.

Bishop Henton's wife preceded him in death last December. He is survived by his son David V. Henton, p/BSG; and three brothers, Bob and wife, Delores Henton, Garnet and wife, Dorothy Henton, all of McCook and Delmar Henton of Spokane, Wash.