Nelson Henry, Jr., age 96, passed away from a week long battle with coronavirus on May 9, 2020. He was born June 15, 1923 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Lucille and Nelson Henry.
After his family moved to Bryn Athyn, Nelson attended public schools and graduated from Lower Moreland High School in 1940. He enrolled at Lincoln University, where he participated in sports, jazz band, and was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Following his junior year, during which he served as class vice president, he enlisted in the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) with plans to be a dentist. The Army sent him to Grinnell College and Cornell University, but the ASTP was disbanded and he was reassigned to become a dental technician in an Army unit in the segregated South. Prior to being shipped overseas, he married his sweetheart, Lydia Pritchett, to whom he was married for 71 years prior to her passing in 2016. His military service was cut short when he was given a “Blue Discharge” -a less than Honorable rating. He fought this continuously until successfully appealing in 2019.
While working full time, Nelson attended Temple University part-time , earning a Bachelors degree in Psychology. He eventually became a manager of the West Philadelphia branch of the Pennsylvania State Employment Service.
Known for his listening ear and advice for those who requested it, he was usually ready to talk as long as his guest requested. He lived a full life that included music, sports, education, military service, transportation, and management.
During the past year he enjoyed finally receiving his honorable discharge from the Army after nearly 75 years and being celebrated by his fellow Omega Psi Phi Fraternity veterans. He appeared in newspapers, on television, and at many ceremonies. He also enjoyed FaceTiming on his iPod with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Nelson was preceded in death by wife Lydia Pritchett Henry, parents Nelson Henry, Sr. and Lucille Henry; sisters (Lucille) Elizabeth Henry White and Emmaline Henry Atkinson; brothers Forrest Henry, Alfred Henry, and (Charles) David Henry.
Nelson is survived by daughter Lydia Henry; sons Nelson Kent Henry (Rosemarie) and Dean Allen Henry (Karen); sister Mable Amanda Tabb; brother-in-law Donald Pritchett; granddaughters Karynn Henry Alexander (William), Beth Henry Johnson (Eric), Brooke Williams, Kristen Henry Tini (Joey), and Angela Henry Singer (Jesse); grandsons Derrick Medearis, William Henry, Nelson K. Henry, Jr, and Jonathan Randolph Henry; great granddaughters Ella Johnson, Quinn Johnson, Belle Henry, Bayleigh Henry, Jada Alexander, Morgan Alexander, and Angelina Henry; great grandsons Billy Henry, Jordan Henry, Justin Henry, Jayse Henry Henderson, and Ian Alexander; and a host of many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be sent to the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, or the National Kidney Foundation.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nelson Henry, please visit our floral store.
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City OK 73123