Harold T. Henson, a retired Army colonel who later became deputy director of public works for the D.C. government, died Jan. 11 at The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods retirement community in Fort Belvoir, Va. He was 90.
The cause was dementia, said his daughter Leslie Gottesman.
Col. Henson joined the Army in 1944 and received a battlefield officer’s commission while serving with the Corps of Engineers in Europe during World War II. He was also a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. His decorations included the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal.
After retiring from the Army in 1970, Col. Henson became deputy director of public works for the D.C. government. He retired from that position in 1991.
Harold Totten Henson was born in Bokchito, Okla., and graduated from San Diego State University in 1950.
Col. Henson was a member of the wrestling team at San Diego State and competed in the 1948 Olympic trials. In 1949, according to news accounts, he was the first African American wrestler to compete in the NCAA national championships.
He received a second bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland in 1964.
Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Ilse Bernhardt Henson of Fort Belvoir; four children, Leslie Gottesman of Lovettsville, Va., Margitta I. Rehler of Sand Springs, Okla., Tanja R. Henson-Quinton of Mardela Springs, Md., and Peter H. Henson of Omaha; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
— Samantha Raphelson