Last Wednesday, June 2, 2021, while you were about the day’s activities, and the world focused on sundry things, a quiet departure took place. A dear beloved brother, Ronnie “Joe” Hensley, took the wings of the morning and flew away to be at rest. He was 65 years old. Joe was a member of the Northeast congregation for over 30 years until failing health dictated his move to his brother Ken’s house in Carthage where he attended the Carthage Church of Christ.
Joe came into the world with heath challenges. A heart condition always concerned his father Doyle and mother JoElla, but never seemed to concern Joe. Joe went to work as soon as he could and worked hard all his life. He believed in making his way in the world, and he did it without a complaint. The honor of work was taught him by his father and mother (II Thess. 3:10). He obeyed the gospel of Christ as a young man and was active in the work of the church. Ask anyone who knew him, Joe was always present for Bible study and worship services of the church. If the doors were open, Joe was there and in his last years present when many in his condition would have been at home. He was so determined to assemble with the saints, that just before his need of constant care, he wrecked his car trying to get himself to Bible study. Many at Northeast ached for him as he battled the aggressive Parkinson’s disease, but Joe never complained—rather apologized—fearful of possibly disturbing someone. He endured great pain and discomfort quietly, pleasantly and when asked about how he felt, he most often would say, “Oh I’m having a little problem but should get it fixed up soon.” Whether you visited him at home or at the church house, the conversation would quickly turn to you. He wanted to know how you were doing. His health challenges neither got him down nor did he let them identify him.
Joe Hensley’s life is best described as “consistent.” Shakespeare wrote: “consistency thou art a jewel,” so Joe was a jewel. He lived a quiet life, just Joe, no put-on or pretense, he was the same Joe wherever you saw him. Ernie Cavender said Sunday, “you will never meet a kinder soul.” Joe was small in physical stature, but he had a huge heart! If you knew his mother JoElla, then you know from whom he got it. He loved the Lord and lived it every day, consistently.
When the TBC golf scramble began 24 years ago, I asked Joe to be on my team. His golf game represented his life—consistent. His shots were straight down the fairway, not the longest golf shots, but always straight, consistent, and in play. Our team won the scramble several times, and I told folks that Joe was my secret weapon, and he was. I had some big hitters with me through the years, some could drive a golf ball 300 yards or more, but we played more of Joe’s golf shots than anyone’s—consistent. Forty years ago when TBC formed a city league softball team, Joe was one of the first to sign up. He never missed a practice or a game, and while he never hit a ball to the fence, he would get a hit just about every time at the plate—consistent. Joe liked league bowling. I never went bowling with him, but I would imagine his bowling game was consistent.
As the word of Joe’s passing made the rounds, without exception everyone I talked with was relieved. Several said, finally Joe can rest. His earthly body no longer riddled with pain, or ravaged another day by such a cruel disease, he’d gone home to rest (Rev. 14:13). Did his passing make headlines? No, but it should have, because the world needs more like Joe. His brothers Ken and Charles did an admirable job of caring for him in his last days, and it was great comfort to him. We mourn with them his passing, but rejoice in his promised rest. He left this life as he lived it, quiet and peaceable having lived a godly, honest life. May God bless his memory to the edification of all who knew him and remain.