Bert Henderson’s Cause of Death: A Suicide or a Mystery?

Bert Henderson was a long-time Clemson associate athletic director and director of IPTAY planned giving. He was found dead on February 21, 2017, after being reported missing the day before. His death was ruled as a suicide by the coroner, but some questions and doubts remain. What was the cause of his death? And what was his life story?

Who was Bert Henderson?

Bert Henderson, whose full name was Robert Allen Henderson, was born in 1956 in Greenville, South Carolina. He graduated from Mars Hill College in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health. He earned a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Clemson in 1980.

He began his career at Clemson in 1978 as an athletic trainer. He worked with the football team that won the national championship in 1981. He later became the business manager and trainer for the basketball team from 1982 to 1984. He then moved to the alumni center as a field agent, where he organized alumni and athletic activities.

In 1985, he became the first associate executive director of IPTAY, the fundraising organization for Clemson athletics. He was responsible for coordinating planned giving, securing capital gifts, and managing the priority points system. He also helped establish new giving levels and endowments. He was honored with an endowed trainer’s position in his name in 2001.

He was widely respected and admired by his colleagues and fans, who praised him as a loyal and dedicated servant of Clemson. He was also a member of the Tiger Brotherhood, the National Society of Fundraising Executives, and a South Carolina State Constable.

He was married to Lee Ann Hudson for 32 years, until she passed away in November 2016. He had two children, Brock and Brittany, and four grandchildren.

How did Bert Henderson die?

Bert Henderson died on February 21, 2017, at the age of 60. He was found dead in a wooded area over a mile away from his home in Easley, South Carolina. He had been reported missing by his family on February 20, after he failed to show up for work. A massive search operation involving over 100 people was launched to find him.

The coroner said Henderson’s body was found by a search team around noon on Tuesday. However, the exact circumstances and motives of his death are unclear, as there was no note or evidence of foul play.

His death shocked and saddened his family, friends, and the Clemson community, who expressed their grief and condolences. Thousands of people attended his funeral, which was held on February 24, 2017, at Rock Springs Baptist Church in Easley. He was buried in the church cemetery.

Why is Bert Henderson’s death controversial?

Bert Henderson’s death is controversial because there are some inconsistencies and gaps in the official account of his death. Some of the questions and doubts that have been raised are:

  • Why did he leave his home without his phone, wallet, or keys?
  • How did he get to the wooded area where he was found, which was over a mile away from his home and across a busy highway?
  • Why did he choose to end his life in such a remote and secluded place, instead of somewhere closer or more accessible?
  • What was his state of mind and emotional condition before his death? Was he depressed, stressed, or troubled by something?
  • Did he have any enemies, rivals, or conflicts that could have influenced his decision or harmed him?
  • Was there any external pressure or influence that could have pushed him to take his own life or made it look like a suicide?
  • Was there any negligence, error, or cover-up in the investigation or the autopsy of his death?

These questions and doubts have not been satisfactorily answered or resolved by the authorities or the media. Some of his family, friends, and fans have expressed their disbelief and suspicion about his death, and have called for a more thorough and transparent investigation.


Bert Henderson was a remarkable man who devoted his life to Clemson and its athletics. He was a successful and influential administrator, a generous and loyal supporter, and a loving and caring husband, father, and grandfather. He died in 2017, but his death remains a mystery. His legacy lives on as one of the most respected and beloved figures in Clemson history.