Henningsgaard, died in a plane crash with his son, Maxwell, in Connecticut on Friday, often represented the group at meetings with community leaders. Eastside Pathways aims to help nonprofits and governments coordinate efforts with each other in improving education in local schools, using the Collective Impact model.
"Replacing Bill is going to be impossible, but we have people in the community who have a passion for the program -- and more than just the program, the concept," said Stokes, who is also a Bellevue City Councilman.
The group, which has been organizing for about two years, and incorporated earlier this year, has about 40 partner organizations, including the Bellevue School District, the city of Bellevue, Hopelink, Jubilee REACH, Youth Eastside Service, King County Housing Authority and more.
It's already started coordinating local efforts on improving early learning literacy, Stokes said.
While Eastside Pathways had so far worked most closely with the Bellevue School District and the city of Bellevue during the group's launch, Henningsgaard had started reaching out to other cities, school districts and businesses because the group has plans to expand to other Eastside cities, Stokes said.
While Henningsgaard was often the public face of Eastside Pathways, he was always listening to others' ideas, Stokes said."What was wonderful about working with Bill was it was always a very collaborative effort," Stokes said. "Bill listens, he made it very clear it was a joint effort."
"He was not in it for himself," Stokes added. "He and Susan (Sullivan, his wife) really worked together well. This was a passion for him."
Henningsgaard, who retired as a vice president of Microsoft after 14 years in the company, had been involved in efforts with Youth Eastside Services and other groups.
"Bill's had a passion for doing things to help kids overcome their disadvantages and reach their potential," Stokes said.
Henningsgaard and Maxwell, 17, were in a small plane that crashed into 64 Charter Oak Avenue. Two children, Sade Brantley, 13 and Madisyn Mitchell, 1, identified by the New Haven Register, were in the home at the time of the crash. Henningsgaard and children are believed to have died. Sade and Madisyn's mother, identified by the Associated Press as Joann Mitchell, escaped and begged neighbors to help rescue her children immediately after the crash, according to news reports.
East Haven Patch has been reporting on the crash.
Henningsgaard his son were on the East Coast touring colleges in a Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B. It had taken off that morning from Teterboro, New Jersey enroute to Tweed New Haven Airport.
Henningsgaard and his mother had survived a previous plane crash in 2009, when the engine of the plane he was piloting failed, according to CBSNews.com.
Bill and Maxwell Henningsgaard are survived by Susan Sullivan and two other chidlren, Eleanor and Lucy.
Stokes said that Eastside Pathways, which incorporated as a nonprofit earlier this year, likely will name staff member Stephanie Cherrington as the acting executive director and the board will meet later this week to discuss its next steps and finding a new executive director.
"Part of the tragedy is that he's one of a kind," Stokes said. "I feel very strongly we're going to make this work. But there will be something missing."
The family respectfully requests that any remembrances be made in the following ways:
- For Bill, the family invites you to invest in our community, like he did, and make donations to any of the Eastside Pathways partners.
- For Max, donations can be made to Camp Kiwanilong, located in Warrenton, Oregon. It was a special place for Max for many years. He leaves behind many memories and friends.