ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Helga Henry

1915 - 2004


Helga Bender Henry, educator and author, died November 1, 2004, in Watertown.


Born in Cameroon, West Africa, on May 30, 1915, to pioneer missionary parents, Mrs. Henry came to the United States after World War I, when her parents settled for a furlough in Watertown. Her father served as pastor of First Baptist Church, then on Division Street. During that time, she attended Douglas School until the family moved to Chicago. She returned to Watertown for her senior year of high school. Subsequently she earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Wheaton College, Ill., and an M.R.E. degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago.


For over 25 years, Mrs. Henry taught in colleges and seminaries. She was dean of women and instructor in German at the University of North Dakota Teachers College at Ellendale, 1937 to 1940; librarian and instructor in religious education at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1940 to 1947; instructor in German at Wheaton College, 1945 to 1947; associate professor of education at Pasadena College in California, 1951 to 1960; and visiting instructor in religious education at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, 1961 to 1966. From 1973, she was on the board of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1986 to 1991, she was chairwoman and treasurer of The Elmer Bisbee Foundation of Washington, D.C. Her biography data appears in "Who's Who In American Education" and in "Who's Who In America."


On Aug. 17, 1940, she married Carl F. H. Henry, a New York newspaperman whom she met at Wheaton College. They had two children, Paul B. Henry, a congressman from Michigan elected for five terms until his death in 1993, and Carol Henry Bates of Columbia, S.C.


After many years in education, Helga Henry with her husband moved to Arlington, Va., when he served as founding editor of a new evangelical magazine, "Christianity Today." She worked with him as an editorial assistant for some time and continued her interest in writing and editing. They lived in Arlington for more than 30 years. Besides preparing teacher training and other curriculum materials, she translated from the German a history of evangelism by Paulus Scharpf used in numerous schools as a textbook and distributed in West Berlin to over 100 participants in the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism. She also wrote a 1955 centennial history, "Mission on Main Street," concerning the nation's then largest Gospel rescue mission located in Los Angeles. In 1999, she published "Cameroon On A Clear Day," a history of her parents' missionary work and its continuing legacy.


She accompanied her husband on overseas lecture and teaching tours and addressed groups in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. She gave lectures at Evangelism International/Singapore, China Evangelical Seminary/Taipei, and addressed Christian women's groups in Seoul, Korea, and elsewhere.


The Henrys lived for a year in Cambridge, England, from 1969 to 1970, for research and writing before traveling to Eastern Europe for a stint of teaching and lecturing mainly in Yugoslavia. They retired to Watertown in 1992.


Helga's father, a native of Baden, Germany, is buried in Soppo, West Africa, beside one of the numerous Cameroon churches the Benders served. Her mother, Hedwig Kloeber Bender, from Saxony in Germany, is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery, Watertown, as is her husband, Carl Henry, who died in December 2003. Preceding Helga besides her parents, husband and son are siblings Herbert, Erica, Thorwald, Carol, Ronald and Armin.


Surviving are a daughter-in-law, Karen Henry Stokes of Grand Rapids, Mich.; a son-in-law, William H. Bates of Columbia, S.C.; granddaughters, Kara Henry of Chicago and Megan Henry of Washington, D. C:; grandsons, Jordan Henry and his wife, Lara, of Los Angeles and Stephen Bates of Columbia, S.C.; a great-grandson, Jonah Henry of Los Angeles; and several nieces and nephews.


A service commemorating the Christian life of Mrs. Henry was held at First Baptist Church of Watertown, with interment in Oak Hill Cemetery. The Rev. Allan Kranz officiated.


In lieu of flowers, the family requested memorials be sent to Watertown’s First Baptist Church or to Prison Fellowship Ministries of Reston, Va.  The Pederson Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin