Jack Carvel Henry Sr., 71, engineer, contractor

May 24, 2002

Jack Carvel Henry Sr., a retired engineer who owned an electrical contracting business, died Sunday of a degenerative neurological condition, Shy-Drager Syndrome, at his Riderwood home. He was 71.

Before his 1995 retirement, he was a mechanical engineering technician for the Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Meade. From 1966 to 1978, he was president of Dorsey Electric Co., a business founded by his father.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Waverly, he was a 1950 graduate of Polytechnic Institute. In 1988, he received his certification as a senior engineering technician from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Family members said that when he was 12 years old he built a car from parts and placed a license plate marked "Experimental" on it. He test-drove it along Charles Street until a police officer pulled him over. Undaunted, he built two more homemade cars.

"He could build, fix or design anything," said his wife of 32 years, the former Sara Pickett.

Mr. Henry built three homes -- his principal residence constructed in an Asian style, one in Ruxton, and a weekend cottage cantilevered over Pequea Gorge in Pequea, Pa. He also built a 30-foot sailboat and furniture.

"He was inventive -- while building his cabin he converted a plumber's threading machine into a winch and used it to pull the building materials up the side of the mountain," said Steve Bosma, a friend and co-worker.

Services are private.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by four sons, Jack C. Henry Jr. and Richard A. Henry of Baltimore, David C. Henry of Boston and Christopher C. Henry of Paris; a daughter, Susan A. Gallagher of Kingsville; and six grandchildren. A daughter, Jennifer E. Harris, died in 1999.

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