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Paul Henry
Paul B. Henry 99th Congress 1985.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan
In office
January 3, 1985 – July 31, 1993
Preceded byHarold S. Sawyer
Succeeded byVern Ehlers
Constituency5th district (1985–93)
3rd district (1993)
Member of the Michigan Senate
In office
Preceded byStephen Monsma
Succeeded byVern Ehlers
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
In office
Preceded byPeter Kok
Succeeded byWalter J. DeLange
Personal details
Born(1942-07-09)July 9, 1942
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DiedJuly 31, 1993(1993-07-31) (aged 51)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Political partyRepublican
Alma materWheaton College, Duke University

Paul Brentwood Henry (July 9, 1942 – July 31, 1993) was a professor of political science and politician from the U.S. state of Michigan serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985 until his death from brain cancer in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1993.

Early life and career

Henry was born in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Pasadena High School, Pasadena, California, in 1959.[1] His father Carl F. H. Henry, noted theologian, was one of the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary and the founding editor of Christianity Today. His mother, author Helga Bender Henry, was born in Cameroon, West Africa, the daughter of German born American missionaries.[2]

Henry received a B.A. from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois in 1963, and then was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia and Ethiopia from 1963 to 1965. Upon returning to the United States, he attended graduate school at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, earning a M.A. in 1968, and a Ph.D. in 1970.[1]

Henry was professor of political science at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1970 to 1978.[3]

Political career

From 1965 to 1970, while he was a graduate student at Duke, Henry served two stints as a staffer for Congressman John B. Anderson (R-IL). During 1968 and 1969, while Anderson was the third-ranking Republican in Congress, Henry's job involved promoting good communication within the party caucus.[4]

In 1974, after Henry had been at Calvin College for several years, Democrat Richard Vander Veen won the congressional seat centered on Grand Rapids, long held by Gerald Ford, in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Henry was subsequently asked to provide new direction to the Kent County Republican Party as its new chairman. The following year, Henry was appointed by Governor William Milliken to the Michigan State Board of Education, on which he served from 1975 to 1978.

Henry ran for an open seat in the Michigan State House of Representatives in 1978 and served in that body from 1979 to 1982, then moving up to serve one term in the Michigan State Senate. In 1984, Henry was elected as a Republican from Michigan's 5th District to the U.S. House of Representatives, winning the open seat being vacated by Republican Congressman Harold S. Sawyer. He was re-elected four times. After redistricting due to the United States 1990 Census, he was elected from Michigan's 3rd District in 1992. Henry served in Congress for 8½ years, from 3 January 1985 until his death.

In the House of Representatives, Henry served on the committees on Education and Labor, Science, Space and Technology, and the Select Committee on Aging. He was known for opposing federal funding of offensive artwork, but he did not join some of his fellow conservatives who sought the complete defunding of federal support for the arts.[5]


In October 1992, two weeks before election day, Henry was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery a few days before he was re-elected to his fifth term in Congress. He regained strength briefly and was able to attend his swearing into the 103rd Congress on January 3, 1993, but then began to decline again.

Paul Henry died in Grand Rapids on July 31, 1993, at the age of 51, after having brain cancer for nine months. He was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids.[6]


Henry was succeeded in Congress by Vernon James Ehlers, a fellow faculty member at Calvin College.

Henry Hall at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids is named after Paul B. Henry. It houses the Biology department, three lecture halls, and several computer labs. The Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship supports a student from GVSU to work in the Washington, D.C. office of a member of the Michigan delegation with a scholarship from the Paul B. Henry Foundation.[7]

M-6, a highway on the south side of Grand Rapids connecting Interstate 96 and Interstate 196, was named the Paul B. Henry Freeway. Construction on the highway began in 1997 and was completed in 2004, four years ahead of schedule.

Calvin College established The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics in 1997 to continue the work of integrating Christian faith and politics advanced by its namesake.[8]

A multi use trail from Kentwood, through Caledonia, Middleville, and Hastings on through to Vermontville was named the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail.

See also


  1. ^ a b "HENRY, Paul B." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  2. ^ "Helga Bender Henry (1915 - 2004) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  3. ^ "Paul B. Henry". Calvin College. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  4. ^ Koopman, Doug (March 21, 2001). "Introduction to "Serving the Claims of Justice: The Thoughts of Paul B. Henry,"". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  5. ^ Lambert, Bruce (1993-08-01). "Representative Paul B. Henry, 51, Dies After Battling Brain Cancer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  6. ^ Paul Henry at Find a Grave
  7. ^ "Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship". Grand Valley State University. January 18, 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-27.
  8. ^ "About the Institute". Calvin College. Retrieved 2017-05-24.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harold S. Sawyer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
James Barcia
Preceded by
Howard Wolpe
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Vernon Ehlers
This page was last edited on 14 March 2020, at 22:17
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