APTOS -- The couple killed here Sunday, allegedly by their son, were retirees who had enjoyed successful careers and had beaten racial discrimination -- but had to contend with a son who suffered from severe mental illness.
Joe Henderson escaped racial segregation in the 1960s South and faced societal disapproval when he married his wife, Edyth, later that decade. But the couple eventually bought a large house in Aptos, enjoyed careers -- Joe as an engineer and Edyth as a software developer -- and raised two kids.
"They were good people," said Marlene Henderson, their 43-year-old daughter. "They were very hardworking people who were very involved in their community."
She said her brother, James Roland Henderson, has acute mental illness.
"Everybody's still in shock," she said.
Her brother was charged in the homicides Wednesday, but did not enter a plea.
According to Santa Cruz County authorities, James Henderson killed his father outside his parents' house by driving a silver BMW 7 series sedan into his chest, then bludgeoned his mother to death.
He was arrested after a nearly three-hour manhunt. Police found him sleeping or feigning sleep in a horse corral on a property near his parents' house, deputies said.
"Officials are still investigating as to why he would commit this heinous crime," prosecutor Ross Taylor said.
At prosecutors' request, Superior Court Judge Timothy Volkmann raised Henderson's bail on the murder charges to $2 million -- although he already was held without bail for an alleged probation violation in a vandalism conviction.
He is due back in court July 17, when he is expected to enter a plea.
Grieving family members were left trying to make sense of Joe and Edyth's deaths -- and to remember their lives.
Joe, who was 71, moved to California from Mobile, Ala., as a young man in part to escape racial segregation. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed in Germany and in Fort Ord before he attended San Jose State.
Edyth Henderson, who was 68, grew up in San Leandro and San Luis Obispo. She graduated from the University of Redlands with degrees in math and Spanish, her family said.
The pair met in San Jose in the late 1960s and eventually eloped. Edyth and Joe's interracial relationship wasn't readily accepted by everyone in that era, family members said.
"It was just a different time," said Marlene Henderson.
While the couple lived in San Jose, Edyth gave birth to Marlene in 1970 and James in 1972.
Joe initially worked for the city of San Jose as a laborer and later as an engineer. Edyth, nicknamed Edy, pursued a career in technology.
Her employers included IBM, NASA Ames Research Center, Sun Microsystems and America Online. She also found time to play violin in the San Jose Symphony Orchestra in the 1970s.
"I remember going to all the rehearsals with her," Marlene Henderson said.
After the family moved to Aptos in 1980, their children attended Aptos High School. Marlene graduated in 1987, and James earned a GED a few years later.
A shock came to the family in the early 1990s, when Edyth was diagnosed with lymphoma. But she beat cancer, and the whole family got involved in Relay For Life -- a nationwide network of events that benefit the American Cancer Society.
Edyth later led the group in Aptos.
Joe retired at age 50 and Edyth eventually retired as well. But she was expected to start a new job as board president of the Santa Cruz County Symphony on Monday.
Joe "was very much into trains" in his retirement, his daughter said. The couple even took a train trip across Canada.
They were both fans of the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco Giants. Joe also loved jazz.
Their daughter said a date for a memorial has not been set.
"This is a tragedy, but we are thankful for the times we had together," she said. "They were loved by lots of people all over the country."
Staff writer Troy Wolverton and Santa Cruz Sentinel writer Calvin Men contributed to this report.