Henry was born in 1948 in the beautiful city of La Jolla, CA, where he swam and surfed the ocean, which he always felt a connection with. He was also active in Babe Ruth baseball and Pop Warner football.
His father then moved them to Hawthorne, CA, where he surfed and scuba dived Manhattan and Redondo beaches. He also remained active in football, wrestling, and one year of track. He played on the varsity football team at Hawthorne High School, from his sophomore through his senior year as offensive center and defensive middle linebacker. Henry led the South Bay League in the most offensive tackles through three seasons. He was named to the Los Angeles Times All-CIF team his senior year and played at the North-South Shriner Game. His friends say he was a hard hitter, but kind and gentle off the field.
Henry went on to San Jose State on a football scholarship and has a trophy there naming him the fastest snapper in the state of California.
Henry did not follow this path in football and became a carpenter. He moved to Cambria, CA, in 1975 to build houses when it was a small village.
In 1976, he met and wooed Kathy O’Brien. Henry then left Cambria for a year to build two homes in Colorado for some friends in Newport Beach and Kathy went to Europe with a longtime friend for a year as a nanny and companion. Henry and Kathy kept in touch and in 1980 Henry told his friends he was going north to get himself a bride. Henry and Kathy became soul mates for 32 years.
In 1982 Henry ran for Honorary Mayor of Cambria, collecting a penny-a-vote for “Project Heartbeat,” the ambulance fund. His campaign name was Handsome Hank. He ran against the high school principal and a real estate agent. Henry won by a landslide collecting 531,810 votes in pennies. Some of his promises were offshore parking, Super Bowl XVII at the veterans hall, and the Oakland Raiders move to Cambria. It was a hysterical event and so much fun that Laguna Beach followed the same venue.
In 1986 Kathy opened the Harmony Pasta Factory in Harmony, CA, while Henry built their home in Cambria. Henry then became the restaurant’s bartender. They worked side by side for 12 years. They sold the restaurant in 1998 and moved to Redway in hopes to build their house on their dream lot in Shelter Cove looking out to the ocean they so loved. They chose to stay in Redway due to the high cost of building a home in the Cove and still own that lot.
Henry stayed busy as a carpenter for 10 years in Southern Humboldt. He built two homes and did many remodels. His clients loved Henry and treated him like he was their own personal carpenter.
In 2008 he suffered a massive embolism in his right leg, which left him unable to work fulltime as a carpenter. After a year of recovery he became employed at the Garberville-Redway Area Chamber of Commerce. He loved his new job and was grateful for being able to work again and get the daily exercise that he needed. It also gave him the opportunity to socialize with people, his favorite pastime.
Henry loved life and has left a handprint on many hearts. He was an only child and his friends were his family. He kept in touch with so many old friends. In 2011 he attended a reunion of the whole Hawthorne High School football team in Camarillo, at the home of Wayne Bryan, the team quarterback. Coach Chauncy, who was 89 years old, was there and they played a mean game of croquet.
On April 26, 2012, Henry was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer. He passed away at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka.
He is survived by his wife, Kathy, who wants to thank everyone for their love, caring and support.
There will be a celebration of life in Cambria on Sept. 15, 2012, at 3 p.m., where remembrances may be said. His ashes will be placed in the ocean off of Leffingwall Park. Then we will be off to the Old Camozzi’s Saloon, just as he would have wanted.
”To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die...” Thomas Campbell