A couple of Ottawa High School graduates were remembered for their fun-loving demeanor.
John “Jack” and Nancy [Morrisey] Henning, who were married nearly 55 years, died in a head-on wreck Tuesday by an impaired driver, according to news reports. The crash happened 7 p.m. Tuesday near the Jackson/Cass county line in Missouri, the report said. Investigators arrested the driver on suspicion of driving under the influence and two counts of involuntary manslaughter, the report said.
Their deaths were being felt from Belton, Missouri, their long-time home, all the way to Ottawa, their hometown. Jack was a 1955 Ottawa High School graduate, while Nancy graduated with the OHS class of 1957.
Dr. Bud Gollier, OHS class of 1958, grew up with both of them.
“Our families were very close,” Gollier said. “I have known [Jack] forever. They have been very loyal Ottawans. They were here last week to visit all the old sites. To see Ottawa and remember the things they used to do. They have always liked Ottawa.”
Gollier said their presence will be missed.
“It is a real tragedy for everybody, but on the other hand, they lived a great life and nobody has any regrets about their relationships with them,” Gollier said. “It puts your life in perspective a little bit. Every day is a blessing. It is good to remember old friends that have been a part of your life forever.”
Gollier said Jack, 80, and Nancy, 78, were involved in a lot of school activities.
“Always very supportive of their growing-up years and their friends from high school days,” he said. “They knew everybody. Jack and I were on the basketball team and golf team. They were very involved in a lot of things.”
Gollier said the Hennings had a lot of fun times growing up together in Ottawa.
“Nancy’s friends were my friends,” he said. “We did a few things I am not going to tell you about.”
Gollier said they kept in contact with old classmates through the years.
“Nancy made the comment when she left [last week], ‘we will do this again soon,’” Gollier said.
Nancy organized the Class of 1957’s 60th reunion last year, Gollier said. She was proud of her Ottawa heritage.
“She gave a shirt to everybody that had a picture of the courthouse in Ottawa and a sign that said ‘just a kid from Ottawa, Kansas, where my story begins,’” Gollier said.
Nancy was a country music fan. Gollier said she had a T-shirt that summed up her fun-loving nature.
“She had a shirt that said ‘Be careful about arguing with an old woman that listens to Willie Nelson,’” Gollier said. “They were great people. They will be remembered for a long time. All their kids will do just fine. They had good role models as parents.”
Gollier said the couples’ funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Monday in the Kansas City area and then will be buried in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Industrial Road and Logan (K-68 highway) in Ottawa.