Death of respected Donegal Town businessman Jimmy Henderson

Peter Campbell


Peter Campbell

Death of respected Donegal Town businessman Jimmy Henderson

The late Jimmy Henderson

Donegal Town and a large part of south and south-west Donegal were saddened this week to hear of the passing of Jimmy Henderson.

A very well-known businessman, Jimmy Henderson’s name is synonymous with the hardware industry in the area since 1959 when he opened a small shop in Bridge Street (where La Bella Donna now is).

His death in Aras Mhic Shuibhne Nursing Home at the weekend caused widespread sadness, such was his popularity as a family man, employer and businessman.

Jimmy was born in The Craig, Inver on 18th January, 1920, the youngest of three brothers, Robbie and Frank are both deceased.

He attended Inver National School before going to serve his time in the hardware trade with M. M. Andrews on the Diamond, Donegal Town (now Forget-Me-Not). He later went to work in Gaileys in Castlederg during the war, cycling from Inver to Castlederg on a Sunday evening and back to Inver on a Saturday evening.

He also worked in Cootehill, Co. Cavan for a short time. Later he returned to M. M. Andrews and finally worked in Hamilton’s Hardware in Donegal Town.

Then in 1959 he rented a small shop in Bridge Street to set up his own business. He had married Louie Coulter on 10th October, 1943 and they had three children - Kathleen, Pauline and David and had built a home in Inver.

Sadly Louie died at the young age of 49 in 1968 when Jimmy was only 48. He purchased the shop where Hendersons remains just up the street from his first shop in 1969 for the sum of £11,000.  It was said to be the first premises sold for over £10,000 in Donegal Town at that time.

He was joined by his son David in the shop around that time and they ran a thriving business together. Jimmy was not just a hardware merchant, he was able to give advice on building, on design, etc. Indeed, many farmers from the country went into Hendersons not sure of what they wanted, but they always left with the right material. As one person recounted on Sunday at his wake, ‘Jimmy Henderson never sold a person something that they didn’t need’. His honesty and integrity was widely known and it is something that has been carried on by his son David and also by his grandson, George.

Many of the employees which were given a start by Jimmy Henderson went on to pursue successful careers in the business.

He was one of a number of businessmen from Donegal Town that rarely missed a funeral in the south Donegal area.

Jimmy retired from the business in 1986 but let an active retirement after moving to Drumstevlin, living with David, Dorothy and family.

His interests included restoring vintage cars and stationery engines, which he took great enjoyment out of driving; building carts, repairing clocks, woodwork and gardening.

After his health began to deteriorate in 2009 he spent some time in Donegal Community Hospital before moving to Aras Mhic Shuibhne, Mullinasole.

His funeral took place to St. John’s Parish Church  graveyard Inver on Monday after Service in Donegal Parish Church of Ireland.

Jimmy Henderson is survived by daughters Kathleen and Pauline; son David; sons-in-law, Roy Graham and Oswald Perry; daughter-in-law Dorothy; five grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.