International Institute for Sport History
Memorial Tribute To Josiah "Joe" Henson

The Board of Directors of the IISOH regrets to announce
that Board member Josiah "Joe" Henson passed away on April 4, 2012.
Captain Henson was instrumental in creating the IISOH and was among the small,
elite group that formed the first Board of Directors.

Born February 24. 1922 in Bristow, Oklahoma
Died April 4, 2012 in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Captain Henson was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and met his future wife there.
He served in the Pacific theatre during World War II and later was a highly skilled Navy Pilot who landed over 300
times on aircraft carriers. His navy career was long and distringuished. He had a lifelong devotion to the
Academy and served on its Board of Trustees. Following memorial services in Oklahoma his remains will be cremated.
His ashes will be intered at the United States Naval Academy on May 14, 2012. The following musical tribute to
Captain Henson is from the movie score of the film "CRIMSON TIDE" and is used by the naval forces of the United States
Great Britain and France. Thanks to maximilianwang61 for loading this onto YouTube
(see: Eternal Father, The Naval Hymn in Crimson Tide).

Brief Biography
Capt. Josiah (Joe) Henson, USN (Ret)

Born and educated in Bristow, OK, he excelled in wrestling and was an Olympic bronze medalist in freestyle wrestling at the XV Olympic Games, Helsinki, Finland (1952). His roommate was John B. Kelly, Jr. who was a rower from Philadelphia and brother of Grace Kelly, an American actress who later became a real-life princess. Joe attended the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, in the 1940's and interupted his studies to serve in the Navy. He was in the South Pacific during World War II, participated in the invasion of the Philippines and Okinawa, as well as sea battle of Surigao Straits aboard U.S.S. California (1944-45). He returned to the Naval Academy after the war to receive his BS degree in 1945. He later earned a Diploma from the U. S. Naval War College, Newport, RI (1959), then received an MS degree in International Relations at George Washington University, Washington, DC (1967). He reached the rank of Captain, U.S. Navy (Pilot) and retired after 25 years of service (1944-69). He chose to retire rather than achieve Admiral rank so he could devote more time to his family. He was attached to the U.S. Embassy (MAAG), Paris, France (1959-61). Commanded Air Anti-submarine squadron VS-31 (1961-64), Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel, Washington, DC (1965-69). Trustee, U.S. Naval Academy Foundation (1973-80).

His wrestling career was just as distinguished as his military career. He wrestled at the U.S. Naval Academy and was an Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling champion and was elected captain by his peers. He was also a FILA wrestling referee, judge and jury member at XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX Summer Olympic Games in Melbourne (1956), Rome (1960), Tokyo (1964) and Mexico City (1968). He served as Special Assistant to the USOC President at the XI Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan (1972) and the XX Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany (1972). He was an International Federation (IF) Delegate and Acting IF President (A credential), at the XXIV Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea (1988). He was an official participant in every Summer Olympic Games since 1952 (except for the 1980 boycotted Games in Moscow). He served as senior Vice President and Executive Council Member, World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) (1977 to date).

His long list of achievements includes the following:

  • Delegate to every General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) Congress and General Assembly since 1980.
  • Delegate to Association of Summer Olympic International Sports Federations (ASOIF) (1984 to date).
  • Chef De Mission, U.S. Delegation, IX Pan American Games in Puerto Rico (1979).
  • Special Assistant to U.S.O.C. President at V and VI Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada (1967) and Cali, Colombia (1971).
  • IF Delegate (A Credential), XI Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba (1991) and IF special representative for X Pan American Games in Indianapolis, Indiana (1987).
  • USOC House of delegates / Board of Directors for XVII, XIX, XX and XXIII Olympiads (1960-64, 1964-68, 1968-72 and 1980-84).
    Member of various U.S.O.C. committees including Games Preparation Committee, International Relations Committee, Membership Committee, Wrestling Sport Committee (1960-88).
  • Member, Wrestling NGB Board of Directors (1964-80).
  • Five time member of US Olympic Wrestling Committee and Chairman (1964-68).
  • Amateur Wrestling Foundation "Man of the Year" in Amateur Wrestling (1967).
  • Helms Foundation Hall of Fame.
  • Modern Pentathlon (USMPC) Executive Committee (1976-84).
  • National Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) President (1980-84) and Vice-President (1976-80).
  • Sullivan Award Committee Chairman.
  • Executive Director, People to People Sports Committee, founded by President Dwight Eisenhower, (1970-72).
  • Member, International Sports Committee, U.S. Information Agency (USIA) (Special commendation from President Ronald Reagan) (1980-88).
  • Founder and President (retired), The Henson Company, Inc., manufacturer of sporting goods under the BRUTE label (Reading, PA). Sold majority interest in company and retired in 1988.
  • Board of Directors IISOH 2001 to April 4, 2012.

    Joe Henson retired and returned to Oklahoma with his wife, Gloria,
    and passed away on April 4, 2012 following a stroke and heart attack.

    Update March 1, 2017: All three links are broken. We will try to get permission to archive the pages on our own site. This is the downside of the internet...pages disappear.

  • Contact the IISOH
    International Institute for Sport History
    Library and Museum

    PO Box 175
    State College, PA, USA 16804

    Board of Directors:
    Mr. Harvey Abrams, President
    Mr. Art Donahoe, Vice President
    Mr. Josh Henson, Esquire
    Ms. Paula Donahoe

    Capt. Josiah Henson, USN, retired (2001-April 4, 2012)

    The IISOH is a non-profit educational, literary and research corporation
    under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.
    Donations are tax deductible.
    Federal Tax ID# 41-2041155

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  • This page was created April 7, 2012
    This page was revised April 25, 2012
    This page was reviewed March 1, 2017