Eleanor Rose Records Henry peacefully breathed her last on Wednesday the 24th of June in Los Angeles, California.
She was beautiful. She was smart. She was funny. But more than anything she was kind.
Raised by a grandmother born in 1880 and a father who quit school in the third grade to help his own mother, she was the first in her family to earn a college degree, from the University of Delaware.
In 1949, she married Bob Henry, a boy she’d known since they were five, and together they raised four children: Derrick, Kirk, Todd, and Susan. Six months after building the house of their dreams in Dover, they accepted an opportunity in California and lived there for the next 40 years, 38 of those in Claremont.
She chose teaching over research; but in summers spent back home with her father, she scoured the Delaware libraries’ archived documents to become an authority and lecturer on Phineas T. Banning, the Delawarean whose vision built the Port of Los Angeles in the 19th Century.
She taught the little ones – kindergarten to fourth grade. In her innovative classrooms she was the conductor, with two kids over here working on this, three over there tackling that, one who needed special attention sitting at her desk, another reclined reading on a 1970 VW bus seat. Many came back when they had families of their own to ask if their children could be in her class; others credited her for inspiring them to teach.
As she neared retirement, administration prohibited any physical contact with students. She did not argue, but she persisted in giving each child a hug on the way out the door at the end of the day. This was her daily ritual, because she knew that this might be the only hug that some of her children received that day.
She retired back to Delaware with the love of her life, and together they savored the reunion of the place and people they’d known all their lives.
The oldest grandchild of Martin Wilson Johnson and Rose Harkins Johnson, she lost her mother Gertrude Johnson Records, grandmother Annie J. Records, stepmother Mabel Mitchell Records, brother Kenneth and father William Records, son Derrick and husband Robert Henry, before herself departing. She is survived by brother Stanley Records and his family, cousin Aline Records Hill and many, many Johnson cousins, children Kirk, Todd, and Susan Henry, and grandsons Andrew and Christopher Jones. She touched many, and people loved her.
A graveside service was held on Friday, July 10 in Laurel Hill Cemetery. The Rev. Dean Perdue officiated. Arrangements were in the care of the Hannigan, Short, Disharoon Funeral Home in Laurel.