Dr. Harold “Hank” Henry
Hank Henry was born Dec. 3,1930, in Center, Oklahoma. His parents were sharecroppers, and as the youngest of six, he learned early the necessity for hard work, for sharing and for caring for one another.
Hank started school in a one-room school house called Center I.T.(Indian Territory). First grade pupils sat in one row, second graders in the next, on up to the sixth graders in the last row.
Hank’s father found it more and more difficult to get enough work to feed his large family. World War II came along and he heard of work in the shipyards in Oakland, California. He headed west, found a job and sent for the family. Hank’s education continued in Oakland until a family tragedy took them to Amarillo, TX. His sister was working there in a munitions factory and was pulled into the machinery, breaking her back. She passed away a year later leaving a husband and young son.
Hank graduated from HS in Amarillo and attended Wayland College in Plainview on a basketball scholarship. After two years there, Hank joined the US Coast Guard and served four years with a helicopter air-sea rescue team. He returned to Wayland where he met Nancy Grigsby. Following graduation they were married in her hometown of Ventura, CA and settled in Long Beach, CA. Nancy began teaching while Hank went on to earn his MA before joining the Long Beach school system. After two years of teaching, he saw a small ad in the paper recruiting teachers for the overseas schools.
In August of 1959 Hank and Nancy boarded the USS Geiger heading for Germany, where Hank taught sixth grade at Bad Kissingen. Assignments as a teaching principal at Wildflecken,Germany; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Stuttgart, Germany followed. Hank took a year off to work on his doctorate at Stanford, then returned to be asst. principal in Munich and then principal of Ansbach Elementary.
To complete his doctorate, Hank attended the Univ. of California at Berkley, serving as a teaching associate plus supervising student teachers at San Francisco State. After attaining his degree, Hank returned to Wiesbaden, Germany to work on curriculum at the district level. There followed two years as principal at Torrejon AB in Madrid, nine years in the District Office in England and seven years as superintendent of the BENENOR District (Belgium, The Netherlands, and Norway). Due to Hank’s health, he and Nancy retired to California in 1987, where he died in 1990, after an eight year battle with cancer.
Hank was a humanitarian, always willing to give a helping hand. He is remembered for his smile, sense of humor, positive attitude, love for country music, his zest for life, but most importantly for his constant reminder, “We must always put the needs of children first.” Hank died as he lived, with dignity, courage and love for his wife, family and his many friends. He was truly a gentle giant among men.
Prepared by Mary H. Allen and Nancy Henry