Craig Henderson Obituary, Death – honoring Dr. Craig Henderson. Craig, a San Francisco family member I knew for over thirteen years, was special. In 2009, the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera left me broke. I wanted affordable housing and found a cheap lease, but the building was condemned and I had two weeks to go.
I felt helpless and asked Merola personnel if anyone could accommodate me while I searched for affordable housing. They introduced me to Craig and Mary Henderson. After seeing how hard it was for me to locate lodging, Craig and Mary let me live with them for the rest of the year. They hosted me, Cav, and later Jenna on practically every trip to San Francisco, both as a young artist and later in my career. Extremely generous. My favorite conversations with Craig were about life, travel, wine, and opera. He was passionate about opera—casting, operations, everything—and I found this endearing.
Every conversation taught me a lot. I was also talking to a self-made great man. He drove a NYC cab to pay for Columbia medical school and became a leading cancer researcher and doctor. His legacy inspires me. Craig always thought I would sing Don Carlo. He always wanted to hear me sing this, as it was his favorite opera. I visited Craig in San Francisco a week before he died and informed him I would debut as Don Carlo and dedicate my performances to him. I saw a brief smile, and knowing I had cheered him up meant the world.