Dr. Tonya Ann (Gscheidle) Henderson, age 45 passed away on August 25, 2021 from a cancer that was as rare as she. She was born on July 22, 1976 in Smithtown, NY. Tonya, originally of Selden, NY, lived in Moore, OK and worked as a School Psychologist for Oklahoma City Public Schools for the past 10+ years. Tonya is survived by her loving husband Zack Henderson; mother Pam Larsen of Selden, NY; father Frank (Joan) Gscheidle of Lake Ronkonkoma, NY; mother-in-law Tamar Henderson of Moore, OK; brothers Frank (Tracy) Gscheidle of Mustang, OK, Brian Gscheidle of Evans, GA, and Joe (Ashley) Larsen of Ponte Vedra, FL; and sister Meagan Larsen of Bellport, NY. She is preceded in death by her grandparents as well as her sister-in-law Tina Gscheidle.
Tonya has always made school her life from a young age when she would come home and play school with her dolls and stuffed animals. She knew she was destined to be a school psychologist when she got her “I don’t Care” Bear to care about school. Tonya loved school so much, that after graduating from Newfield HS (Selden, NY) in 1994 she went on to attend Colgate University (Hamilton, NY) where she earned a BA in Psychology with a minor in Education in 1998. She earned her PhD in School Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007.
Tonya was fascinated by the research and science behind learning and behavior. Prior to attending graduate school, Tonya worked for the National Institutes of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD from 1998-2000, where she learned the art of assessment. In addition to the excellent experience, she also met Richard, Jonathan, Brianna, and Joscelyn – all whom became doctors and life-long friends.
Tonya loved her job as a school psychologist and was driven by her desire to help students, parents, and teachers be successful in the school environment. She completed her Pre-doctoral Internship with Dallas Independent School District in 2005 and remained until 2009. Tonya then worked for Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) from 2009-present. Her area of specialty was autism and she took pride in creating the first district-wide autism team when she came to OKCPS. Her work with OKCPS also led Tonya to meet her dear husband Zack.
Zack and Tonya experienced a love story that movies are made from. He wooed her for 18 months without her having any awareness of said wooing before finally going on a first date November 2013. From there, the relationship was a whirlwind – Zack proposed 99 days from that first date and they were married 8 months later on October 19, 2014. Five months later, Tonya was diagnosed with cancer but through that diagnosis, their marriage grew stronger. Tonya was able to fight the beast of the cancer through her initial diagnosis in March 2015 and again when she learned of the metastases throughout her body in July 2017. Zack’s love and strength enabled her to fight with all she had. As he never gave up on her, she could not give up on herself. Zack made her laugh when she wanted to cry. He was the husband she always dreamed of after watching “Say Anything” and wanting her “Lloyd Dobbler.” Zack will always be her Lloyd Dobbler.
A memorial service for friends and family will be scheduled for Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 11:00 am at Moore Funeral Cremation (Chapel). In lieu of flowers, Tonya has requested that a donation be made to a charity of your choice.
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