Heart of a Lion, Henley Marks 47th Year as Director of Lufkin Zoo
August is here! In addition to it being time for back to school, and the weather getting hotter (if that's even imaginable), the month of August is also:
- Happiness Happens Month
- Golf Month
- Clear the Shelters Month
- National Catfish Month
- National Cowgirl Month
- National Dog Month
- and What Will Your Legacy Be Month
Let's focus on that last entry about thinking about your legacy. It seems only fitting that this month also marks the beginning of an East Texas era that started nearly half a century ago.
The day was August 1, 1976, when a young man moved to Lufkin from Oklahoma to become the director of the Ellen Trout Zoo. Just 10 years after the zoo officially opened to the public, Gordon Henley stepped into a role that he continues to hold today.
Gordon and his wife, Charlotte, made the move to Lufkin from Tulsa and some two generations of visitors to Ellen Trout Zoo are glad they did.
In a 2009 interview, Gordon attributed his career interest to a childhood trip to a zoo with his father,
"We were at an elephant exhibit and while we were looking at the elephants, one of them took a snout full of water and gave us a shower. I jokingly told myself (working at a zoo) was what I had to do. All the rest of my school days have revolved around animals and wanting to work at a zoo."
Henley also said the following when reflecting on his move to Lufkin,
"I don't know why Harvey Westerholm (Lufkin City Manager) hired somebody in his twenties to come down here and run a zoo, but he did, and I will always be grateful to him for that."
To Gordon Henley, we say happy 47th anniversary as director of the Ellen Trout Zoo. Thank you for all your hard work and all the smiles you have provided through the years. We know that you have more great plans for the zoo and we can't wait to see what the future brings.
Here are Some of The Largest Bass Caught in Deep East Texas in 2023