NEALE “BOBO” HENDERSON III was born June 24, 1930 to Rosalie and Neale Henderson II in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Neale grew up as the middle child, having an elder sister, Mary Frances, and younger brother, Ocie. In 1941, the family relocated to San Diego where he began attending Stockton Elementary, continued on to Memorial Junior High School, and finished his education as a Caver, at San Diego High School; it was here that Neale became a breakout, two sport phenom, excelling on the gridiron as well as the diamond.
Boboʼs athletic abilities, mixed with his natural charm, earned him recognition and opened doors to the Negro Leagues, with the help of Coach Mike Morrow and friend, Gene Richardson. He had the great adventure of being part of the Gibson Tigers and Abilene Ikes, winning the Ameritech Baseball League of America pennant in 1949; barnstorming with the Roger Hornsby Whiz Bangs, and fulfilling his dream, playing with the Kansas City Monarchs before joining the army on September 11, 1950, where he also received the Army Occupation Medal for his service in Germany.
Outside of sports, Bobo was known as the life of the party, and quite the ladies’ man. His smooth talk and bold style led Neale to love four times in his life! Through his loves, he gained ten of his most prized gifts: his children Vonda, Neale IV, Chere, Ronald, Paul, James, Marylin, Anthony, Gail, Monica, and Arlington. He supported his family working as a painter with General Dynamics for nearly forty years. However, working hard, long hours did not stop BoBo from enjoying life. Next to the ladies and sports, Neale loved to dance and fish. Fishing was almost a rite of passage that he would take all of his grandchildren through lecturing them on the intricacies of the art; like putting a little spit on the worm. Spit was his special sauce for all occasions: scraped knee...put a little spit on it; throwing a change-up by putting a little spit on it; ashy skin...you all get the picture. Oh, and could he dance!” Ole Blue”, as his friends knew him, could shake a leg. Let “Atomic Dog” come on the radio and you were about to witness a show like none before. You’ve seen “The Freak” and heard of “The Bump”, but “The Dog” was a game changer. In all his fun and living, he never lost sight of the importance of God in his life, which was instilled in him as a youth, attending his father’s small St. James Baptist Church. BoBo clung close to the Lord, attending Mount Erie under the leadership of Dr. Walter G. Wells, until his health prevented him.
On Thursday, December 27, 2018 Neale “Bobo” Henderson was summoned home to be with the Lord, transitioning at his home, surrounded by family. He was preceded in death by both of his parents; his sister, his wives, Hattie Mae, Elsie Rose, and Annie Ruth; and his grandson, Kenge.
He leaves behind to carry on his legacy his ten children: Vonda, Chere, Neale IV (Sue), Ronald (Pamela), Paul (Karen), James, Marylin, Anthony, Gail (Marvin), Monica, and Arlington; his brother, Ocie; twenty-two grandchildren: Shelly, Larry, Dana, Jeremy, Raymond, Ronald Jr., Steven, Britt, Aisha, Pamela, Jamar, JaShae, Joel, Chartae, Tayeshia, Shaunta, Courtney, Shaniqua, Arrion, Kameron, Malcolm, and Victoria; twenty-one great-grandchildren: Ricky, Reggie, Raysean, Blair, Jayana, Tamoya, Kymar, Rayonna, Kaya, Kalisi, Ronnie, Chantal, Mikey, Makiah, Jania, Joel, Jael, Roscell, Braylon, King, and Monique; eight great-great grandchildren: Donte, Alanah, Bailee, Raysean Jr., Haanii, Alexandria, Keanu and Keziah and a host of cousins, other relatives and many friends.