R.I.P. Ken Henderson: 1967-2008

I've been a bit out of touch with the blogosphere over the last couple of weeks, so I was absolutely floored when a colleague forwarded me Kalen Delaney's post on the recent sudden passing of Ken Henderson of Guru's Guide renown (just how sudden is evidenced by the tone of his final blog post).

I met Ken only once, at the SQL Server 2005 Air Lift in Seattle, but we shared several spirited correspondences over the years, and we seemed to share a similar sense of humor.

As a matter of fact, now it can be told: Ken was a staunch proponent of the OPENROWSET trick. In fact, when I started sharing the technique within Microsoft, I named it after the person I learned it from.. "the John Huschka OPENROWSET trick." The first of many very nice personal emails I got from Ken included my citation as well as a user group posting he'd made several years previously describing the technique.

His note held no rancor at all that I had mis-cited his work; rather he "just wanted to set the record straight." I thereafter referred to it as "the Ken Henderson OPENROWSET trick" for a number of years, until I got another forward with another usergroup posting about a year older than the one Ken had sent me. When I shared this with him, Ken was just as magnanimous as he'd been in the previous case: "you can't always be first."

I wish I'd known Ken better than I did, so I could share a more personal remembrance. If you've read any of his books or his blog postings, though, you'll recognize a brilliant but unassuming man who was very skilled in communicating his expertise in a highly accessible manner. That he was a dedicated family man as well makes me consider him a kindred spirit, and causes me to both wish I'd known him better and mourn his loss all the more.

My condolences to Ken's family, friends, and colleagues, as well as all of those he touched in the wider SQL Server community (and, yes, I'm self-condolencing when I say that). We are the richer for the time Ken spent with us, and the poorer for his passing.