This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.
Robert R. Henry, 81, passed away on April 30, 2020 at home in Newport, RI, surrounded by his children, and with his wife of 58 years, Carolyn (Brown) Henry, holding his hand.
Robert, or Bob, was born in Newport, RI on September 13, 1938 to the late Katherine (Maher) Henry and Robert Henry. He attended Newport schools, graduating from Rogers High School in 1956. He served in the Army and Army Reserves for 6 years, a fact of which he was quietly very proud. On October 12, 1962 he married Carolyn. Work took them to different places for a few years until 1968 when they bought their home in Newport, where they would raise their 7 children. While working as a senior loan officer for Rhode Island Hospital trust he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island, taking classes at night. After going to work at the United States District Court under Chief Judge Francis J. Boyle, Robert again studied at night and earned his Master of Professional Administration from URI. He would work at the court for 25 years before retiring, overseeing the installation of its first computer system and the court buildings complete renovation along the way, and in time rising to the position of Chief Deputy Clerk.
Although he was busy raising his family, he found time to give back to his community. He was an elder at First Presbyterian Church, serving on many different committees. He also served on the Newport Planning Board, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Newport Chamber of Commerce, The Newport Lions Club, and was a board member for the Newport Boys and Girls Club.
Always active and involved in his children’s and grandchildren’s lives he was a Cubmaster and served as President of the Newport National Little League for 8 years and it’s Treasurer for 2 years. Robert also served on the Sheffield School Parent Teacher Group, the Rogers High School Band Boosters and was a lifelong member and supporter of the Rogers High School Athletic Boosters Club,where he was Treasurer for 10 years. Even in his final few weeks he was helping to design and buy banners and yard signs for this year’s graduating RHS seniors.
In his spare time Robert loved to read sci-fi, history, and alternate history books and did so voraciously, loved to build WW2 models, to eat popcorn and barely cooked steak, and to go to the beach. But there was nothing he loved more than being a husband to Carolyn, a Dad to his children, and a Beepa to his grandchildren and great-grandchild and spending time with all of them. With Carolyn he travelled the world from Cape Horn to Iceland, adoring her all the way. You’d find him crying at every one of his kids and grandkids graduations and award ceremonies, and cheering, in his particular way, at sporting events and performances, with a loud “Yah!” and big, slow claps. He loved to organize Mother’s Day banquets, church coffee hours featuring Fall River pastries, to volunteer the family to put up the church Christmas tree (which we did for 18 years), to participate in the family Thanksgiving dessert contest (which he won 6 times and was robbed of the other 21 times), and to do everyone’s taxes. He was a library of practical advice and a fountain of encouragement and unconditional love, and we don’t know what we’re going to do without him.
Robert is survived by his wife Carolyn Henry of Newport, and his children; Kristen Aleicho (Andrew), Karyn Straka (Russell), Patricia Henry (Erica), Robert Henry (Melissa), Jonathan Henry-Heywood (Jason), Matthew Henry, and Katherine Henry (Melissa). He also leaves behind his beloved grandchildren; Erin, Andrew and Lauren Aleicho, Taylor and Robbie Henry, Benjamin, Christopher and Katherine Straka, Katie Henry-Heywood, Evan, Clara and Charlie Henry and a great granddaughter, Mila Martin. He also leaves behind his loving sisters Roberta Dugan, Barbara Ripa, and Sharon Caine, and dozens of nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the First Presbyterian Window Fund (4 Everett St, Newport, RI 02840), or Portsmouth Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice (www.visitingnursehh.org), or The David Chandler Memorial Award, (C/0 James Cawley, Rogers High School, 15 Wickham Rd, Newport, RI, 02840).
The family would like to thank the nurses, respiratory therapists, staff, and doctors of Newport Hospital. He got to know them well in the last few years and enjoyed joking with the nurses, therapists and staff, and negotiating early release from hospital stays with the doctors. We’d also like to thank Portsmouth Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice, especially Nurse Nancy. These tireless professionals gave us years more time with our Dad and Beepa, and for that we’re eternally grateful.
On Saturday May 9th we will be having a drive-through-only remembrance of Robert R. Henry. Drive to the former Jesus Savior School and current Adult Learning Center grounds at 437 Broadway where you will be directed through the school yard and down past the Henry house on Ledyard. We ask that you remain in your car and observe strict social distancing precautions, including masks, at all times. At risk individuals should please stay at home. When the pandemic is over and we can gather freely we will be having a full memorial service that they can attend.
Family and friends are encouraged to share a photo or a memory at his online tribute, www.memorialfuneralhome.com/obituary/name.