Dean was a Football Official for more than 30 years and was inducted into the Abilene Chapter’s Hall of Honor in 2007.
Marvin “Dean” Henninger passed from this life in the early morning hours of October 25, 2020 at the age of 92. Dean was born September 28, 1928 to Fred and Ida Mae Henninger in Austin, Texas. The youngest of six children, Dean’s early years were marked by his natural athleticism and love for sports. Dean excelled at basketball and football while attending Stephen F. Austin High School and would later earn a scholarship to play football at Hardin‑Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. An article in the 1948 H‑SU Brand Newspaper described his success both on and off the field, “Henninger is a modest sort that seems to be nesting away somewhere when the glory is flung, but his reserved manner fits him nicely and really hits the spot with fellow students and teammates.”
Another article commemorated a visit back to campus after Dean had two teeth knocked out during spring practice; an early indication of the grit and tenacity he carried with him throughout his life.
Dean’s love for the sport continued after college as an official for the Southwest Football Officials Association. His officiating career would span over 30 years and would culminate with his induction into the Abilene Football Chapter’s Hall of Honor in 2007.
It was at Hardin‑Simmons where Dean met the love of his life and wife of over 62 years, Juanita “Sue” Rose. Dean and Sue were married in May 1951 at the First Baptist Church of Abilene and soon welcomed three beautiful daughters‑Roseann, Deanise, and Cynthia. The young Henninger family settled in Abilene where Dean joined Sue’s father and brothers in the family construction business. Together, they would build the early landscape of Abilene and surrounding communities. Dean’s career in the construction industry would span five decades, including a tenure as President of the West Texas Chapter of The Associated General Contractors in 1995. Throughout his career, Dean’s priority remained the health and well‑being of his employees; some of whom would work alongside him until his retirement in the early 2000s and whom he would always consider family. Dean was an avid outdoorsman and always looked forward to fishing trips with his brother and beloved nieces and nephews at the family bay house, or the hunting trips with his brother and nephews to Colorado. Some of his fondest memories with his family were spent there and at the Circle R Ranch in Elmdale.
Dean was famous for not sitting still, always finding something to fix, chewing tobacco, and his love for the Dallas Cowboys. Over the years, Dean’s humility, humor, and authenticity continued to “hit the spot” with the many people who were lucky enough to call Dean their friend. Dean’s most cherished role was always that of husband, dad, and grandad to his girls. Though they could not have been more different, he loved them all the same with his endless patience, encouragement, and compassion. Dean would spend the latter part of his life caring for his wife during a prolonged illness.
As a testament to his love for her, he would never fully recover after her death in 2012. The family finds great comfort in knowing they are reunited in heaven. Dean is preceded in death by his wife, Juanita Sue Henninger; daughter, Deanise Henninger; parents, Fred and Ida Mae Henninger; and siblings, Cotton, Hazel, Rudy Mae, Audrey, and Fred Jr. Dean is survived by his daughter Roseann and husband Danny Brown of Abilene; daughter Cynthia Nesmith of Abilene; granddaughter Megan and husband Jake Allred of Abilene; granddaughter Amanda and husband Boyd Guthrie of Austin; two great‑grandsons Bryson Dean and Quinton Jacob Allred; and many special nieces and nephews. A celebration of life will be held graveside on Friday, October 30 at 2:00 p.m. at Elmwood Memorial Park with Dr. Phil Christopher officiating. Funeral services will be under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the First Baptist Church City Lights Ministry or the West Texas Rehab.