A Final Goodbye to the Canyon Kid

From people who knew him well to those who were influenced by his message, many people gathered Thursday to say their final goodbye Sioux City's "Canyon Kid."

Even the marquee at the Orpheum Theatre paid tribute to the late Jim Henry who is fondly remembered as the man who hosted Canyon Kid's world on KVTV, now KCAU.

The funeral was at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Many of his close friends were there along with people who knew him through the magic of TV to give one last farewell.

It was a somber day for those who knew Jim Henry.

"It's, like I say, the end of an era," said Rich Kleinberg, a former co-worker of Jim's.

Family members, friends, co-workers and complete strangers got together to say goodbye to a man who touched so many lives.

"Great guy and a legend. That word gets thrown around a lot but I really think it applies," said Don Reese, who worked with Jim on the set of Canyon Kid's World.

The big city kid from Brooklyn, New York moved to Sioux City in the 40's. He began his TV career on KVTV, now known as KCAU, in a show that kids from all over Siouxland watched religiously: Canyon Kid's world.

Patricia Leclair, a local artist, says she watched the Canyon Kid every day and attributes much of her success to him.

"He gave me the confidence when I was a child, that I was good enough to pursue my art," she said.

Not only did he teach kids life lessons, he also helped coach people on the set of his show. Don Reese played Old Timer for a few years.

Reese says he'll never forget his first day.

"I was back there and he said, 'do you want to wave goodbye Old Timer?' And the Old Timer's arms were just stuffed they didn't do anything, they just kind of laid there and I was so nervous I said, 'I can't Canyon, my arms don't work.' He said, 'well let me wave.' And I'll never forget the minute the show was over he leaved over, 'My arms don't work?' I said, 'I'm sorry! I panicked!' I didn't know what to say!"

Rich Kleinberg was on Canyon's show when he was 8-years-old but years later, it was their shared passion for the theatre that made them such great friends.

"Jim would forget his lines every so often in theatre production. If he would go up and forget a line, he would never stop talking and sit there with mud on his face he would start making things up and they always made sense to the plot of the play. And he would talk and talk and talk and I'd think is he going to take a breath so I can at least get my line in? But he was a great guy," said Kleinberg.

Jim Henry was 89 when he passed away but his stories will live on.

Following the service, Jim was buried at Graceland Cemetery. He and his wife Karen had moved to Midland, Michigan this past year to be closer to their son Jason. But as Karen said, "he loved Sioux City and that's why they brought him back to Iowa."

And there's no doubt Sioux City loved him too.