Maurice Henderson Retires from PRECO Board after 55 Years

Posted: November 5, 2020 at 12:23 pm

Maurice Henderson has retired from Peace River Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors after serving as the District 5 Director for 55 years.

Maurice, a Hardee County native, grew up in the Lemon Grove community, east of Wauchula. Growing up in a time when rural areas lagged behind the big cities in receiving electric service, he recalls the day his parents’ home was electrified.

“We got electricity around ’42 or ’43,” he adds. “I’ll never forget the first night we had electricity. We sat down for supper—we had probably a 60-watt bulb in the middle of the room.” Chuckling, he explains how his mother saw the room in the glow of the new light and exclaimed, “I didn’t know my house was so dirty!””

Retired Dir. Maurice Henderson sits in a rocking chair
Retired Dir. Maurice Henderson, after serving on PRECO’s Board for 55 years, reflects on his time spent with the Co-op

After finishing high school, Maurice joined the Marine Corps where he served for three years. Afterward, he chose a career and stuck with it. He decided on cattle ranching.

“After getting out of the military,” shares Maurice, “I knew what I wanted out of life: to have cows and land.” He wholeheartedly applied himself to his chosen career and has never looked back.

Maurice lives in Wauchula with Betty, his wife of 62 years. Together, they have two sons and five grandchildren. Looking back over the years he says he wouldn’t change anything and that “life’s been good to Betty and me.”

What caused Maurice to pursue a position on PRECO’s Board of Directors, you may ask?

“Betty used to work for the co-op,” explains Maurice. “She was hired before she finished high school in ’53 and worked there until ’65. After we were married, I would go with her to PRECO’s district meetings every year. It was at these meetings that I became interested in serving on the Board.”

In PRECO’s 80-year history, the co-op has only had four general managers and Maurice has worked with all of them.

“A few months after I came onto the board, Ivon Tilyou, PRECO’s first general manager, announced that he was ready to retire,” says Maurice. “We advertised the job, then hired Richard Maenpaa. Some years later, we hired Bill Mulcay, followed by Randy Shaw, who is the current manager.”

“We were fortunate to have Mr. Henderson on the board of directors for 55 years,” says Randy Shaw, PRECO General Manager/CEO. “A man of integrity, he is well-respected by the members of the board and has always made decisions based on the best interests of the cooperative and its members.”

Along with his duties as a member of PRECO’s board, Maurice also served on the board of Seminole Electric Cooperative, PRECO’s energy provider, for 14 years.

“The cooperative owes a debt of gratitude to Maurice for 55 years of selfless service,” adds Randy Shaw. “We wish him the best in retirement.”