Obituary of Robert William Henry, Q.C.
“I tell you most solemnly, you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. For I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy,
and that joy no one shall take from you.” John 16:20 and 22
It is with great sadness that the family of Robert (Bob) William Henry announces his passing on Wednesday, September 25th, 2019.
He will be lovingly remembered as a devoted husband of 56 years by his wife Beverley and as a loving, supportive and generous father by his daughter, Elizabeth Henry-Walford (Rob) and his son, Michael Henry (Jerel). He will be remembered with love and gratitude by his grandchildren, Matthew and Patrick Walford, Clare, Margaret and William Henry. He is predeceased by his eldest son, William (Bill) James Henry.
Born in Toronto on December 22, 1929, Bob was the only child of Simpson William and Elsie Agnes (nee Bannon) Henry, grandson of William James Henry and great grandson of Samuel Henry of Ellice Township, Perth County.
When Bob was still very young, his family moved to the United States, settling ultimately in Catonsville, near Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up there during the Great Depression and retained vivid memories of that time.
In April, 1942, when he was twelve years old, his father passed away. Shortly afterwards, he and his mother returned to Toronto. He was awarded a scholarship to attend De La Salle College (DEL) in grade nine and he graduated from DEL with high honours in 1948. He was always impressed by the academic rigour of his teachers at DEL, especially Brother Bernard. This foundation served him throughout his lifetime and inspired his children and grandchildren.
Summers during high school were spent at his cousins Stanley and Lottie Henry’s farm near Stratford, which he fondly remembered.
After graduating from DEL, he attended St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in 1952. He was a member of the Commerce Club and the UofT swim team. He volunteered as a lifeguard and taught swimming at Hart House.
Bob progressed to study law at Osgoode Hall in Toronto and was called to the Bar in 1956.
He began practising law at the firm of Harries Houser in Toronto. The late Mr. Elmore Houser, Q.C. was a wise and kind mentor to him.
Bob was awarded Queen’s Counsel and he rose to become a senior partner of Harries, Houser.
In 1985, he helped found the law firm of Houser, Henry & Syron. In his later years, he mentored and worked closely with his son Michael who succeeded him as Managing Partner of the firm. His clients across Europe and North America and his colleagues highly respected Bob’s practical legal advice. He was considered “a lawyer’s lawyer”, as many peers trusted his wise counsel. In turn, he was always grateful for the trust invested in him by lawyers and his many clients. He was a member in good standing of the Law Society of Ontario for more than 60 years and was made a life member in 2006. He was also an honorary member of the Canadian Bar Association.
Over a bridge game with friends, he met his future wife Beverley (nee Dempsey). Beverley was the love of his life. They married on October 5th, 1963 in Toronto. Bob and Beverley shared a love for their family, travel, a deep faith and an appreciation for a strong work ethic. They raised three children, the late William (Bill), Elizabeth and Michael. Their love of family extended to many Sunday dinners, trips, birthday and milestone celebrations with their children and grandchildren.
Bob was a longstanding member of the Granite Club and of the National Club and he enjoyed participating in many activities at both clubs. In addition, Bob was an active fundraiser for several local charities.
He was distinguished by his steady perseverance and his cheerful resilience. Bob believed passionately in the enduring value of education and loved reading history especially regarding his hero Sir Winston Churchill. Bob also loved Newfoundland dogs and raised several of these gentle giants over the years.
“But where's the man, who counsel can bestow, Still pleas'd to teach, and yet not proud to know?” -Alexander Pope
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same...
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it...”
There will be a visitation at R.S. Kane Funeral Home located at 6150 Yonge St., Toronto, on Monday, September 30th, 2019, from 3-6pm.
A Funeral Mass will be held at Blessed Sacrament Church located at 24 Cheritan Avenue, Toronto, on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at 10:30am.
Following the funeral service, there will be a private interment.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to De La Salle College “Oaklands” for the Robert W. Henry, QC Memorial Grade 9 Entrance Scholarship or a donation to University of St. Michael’s College or Good Shepherd Ministries.