Michael Henley, age 66, of Jacksonville, passed away on June 18th after a lengthy and hard-fought battle with COVID-19. He was born in Texarkana, Arkansas to George and Trudy Henley on August 30th, 1954.
Michael grew up in North Little Rock and has spent the last 49 years working at Henley’s Wholesale Meats. As a business owner, he was known to his peers for his intellect, strong work ethic, integrity, honesty, and ability to cut the very best deal for his customers. The ‘cowboy’ could get it done.
He will be remembered by his family and friends as an example of what it means to live life fully and with honor.
Michael was an avid outdoorsman and committed conservationist throughout his life. He spent 38 years traversing the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to the Northwest Territories with his lifelong friend and hunting partner, Gary Loyd, who preceded him in death in 2018. Hunting camps and campfires throughout the country have been blessed by his presence, his stories, and his talent singing and playing the guitar. He was a noted songwriter and published poet.
He was a Life Member and Habitat Partner of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and former chairman of the Central Arkansas Chapter. Under his leadership, they reached the pinnacle of attaining the ‘Million Dollar Chapter’ cumulative fundraising designation. Money he helped raise protects habitat and wildlife in the US for future generations.
He was a rancher who found great joy and solace in tending to his cattle and maintaining the piece of heaven he created.
He was a Christian who served on and chaired several committees at FUMC NLR. He is remembered for giving an unforgettable 'children’s moment' dressed in all his cowboy gear, as well as bringing his and Carol Ann’s pet donkey, Elmer, to church for yearly appearances on Palm Sunday.
Michael was preceded in death by his father, George Henley and brother, Marc Henley. He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 31 years, Carol Ann Henley; his three children, Brian Henley of Conway, Marie Henley Shapley (Jeremy) of Little Rock, and Hayley Henley of Dallas; his two grandchildren to whom he was lovingly known as “YeeHaw”, Gillian “Lou” Shapley and Samuel Shapley; his mother, Trudy Henley of Sherwood; his brothers, Rickey Henley (Rhonda) of Mt. Vernon and Eddie Mansfield (Diane) of Jacksonville; many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Martha King of Hot Springs and sister-in-law, P.J. Hodges (Dennis) of Little Rock; along with a list of friends far too long to fit on this page. He also leaves behind the ‘blonde’ in his life, Tasso, his beloved yellow Labrador Retriever.
The family would like to acknowledge Grayson Chambers, his kidney donor. For 22 months prior to getting COVID, Michael had the gift of good health and feeling better than he had in years due to this selfless friend.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (5705 Grant Creek, Missoula, MT 59808) to continue Michael’s efforts to preserve the wildlife and habitat that he so dearly loved.
During his month-long stay at Baptist Springhill, Michael received exceptional medical care. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to his entire medical team - all his ICU nurses, including a special nurse, Micah Scott, as well as Dr. Susan Delap, Dr. Dave Greenwood, Dr. Lee Kendrick, Dr. Moses Ejiofor and most especially, Dr. Haley Shaw, a dear friend of 20 years who went to great lengths to ensure Michael had every possible comfort and chance at recovery. We are forever grateful to each and every one of you.
Visitation is Friday, June 25th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home (1921 Main Street). The memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 26 at 11 a.m., First United Methodist Church on J.F.K. in North Little Rock, with Pastor Lynn Kilbourne officiating.
Honorary pallbearers will be Rickey Henley, Eddie Mansfield, Grayson Chambers, Dr. Haley Shaw, Chuck Cook, Bert Haralson, Jeremy Shapley, Robert Thompson, Ernie Trujillo and Rick Murphy.
Arrangements by Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home, 1921 Main St, North Little Rock, AR 72114, 501-758-1170.
To send flowers to Michael's family, please visit our floral store.