MADISON COUNTY - County judge is just one of the many titles Art Henson wears. He's also a husband, father, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend. Those who know him admire and respect him.
The almost fourteen thousand Madison County residents know him as Judge Art Henson.
Following him around town, you'll see that he doesn't meet strangers. What some may not know...is how he got his start.
"My first career was with the Southern Pacific Railroad. I started with them back in 1946. I worked for the Texas and New Orleans Railroad, then it merged with the Southern Pacific. And I spent about 47 years, four months, and 13 days with them," Henson said.
He remembers his years of working on the railroad fondly and like a true railroad man, he still loves to hear the train's whistle.
His railroad career began as a telegraph operator and he eventually worked his way up to Vice President of Transportation for the entire 15,000 miles of the Southern Pacific Line across 15 states. He retired from the railroad back in 1994. When the last county judge retired almost 8 years ago, Henson stepped up to the plate.
"I bit the bullet and went ahead and ran and won and then I was elected to go for a second term. Have you enjoyed it? I've enjoyed it, yeah, I've enjoyed every bit of it and every day is a new day and something new comes up all the time, but I've enjoyed every bit of it," Henson said.
Judge Henson also enjoys meeting his friends every day for lunch at the Texas Legends Steakhouse...right across the street from the courthouse. He jokes that this is where he and his friends solve the world's problems...and sometimes create them!
Judge Henson will retire at the end of this year and he says that he'll go back to ranching and farming because sitting idle isn't something he's good at.
Though he's stepping down as county judge, he'll still be pulling up a chair at lunch every day. After all, in his golden years, he's still on the lookout for a good meal with good friends shared at their specially reserved table.