Malcolm E. Henry, 85

Lumber company owner, World War II combat pilot

November 16, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN REPORTER

Malcolm Edward Henry, former owner of an Anne Arundel County lumber company and a World War II combat pilot, died Tuesday of Alzheimer's disease at Copper Ridge nursing home in Sykesville. He was 85 and a former longtime Ellicott City resident.

Mr. Henry was born and raised in South Portland, Maine, and after graduating from high school in 1940 enlisted in the Army Air Corps.

He was commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating from the advanced flying school at Craig Field, Ala., in 1943.

After completing fighter training in 1944, he was assigned to the 47th Fighter Group in Europe, where he flew P-38s.

Mr. Henry, who safely completed 40 combat missions aboard P-38s, also flew four experimental air-to-ground combat missions aboard the then-new Douglas A-26 light attack bomber.

He also piloted a special combat photo flight with a combat photographer, who was seated in the nose of a Lockheed Droop Snoop P-38 during the first major air assault over the Rhine River at Wessel, Germany, in 1945.

"On most of their missions, they were bombing trains and railroad yards," said his daughter, Karen Henry Milligan of Laurel.

After the war, he enrolled at the University of New Hampshire, where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1948. While attending the university, he remained in the Air Force Reserve, flying P-51 Mustang fighters, from Greiner Field in Manchester, N.H.

In the late 1940s, he moved to Baltimore and joined a British-owned lumber export firm.

In 1950, he established Tidewater Hardwood Lumber Co. in Harmans, which supplied fine woods to furniture manufacturers. He owned and operated the business until selling it and retiring in 2005.

He also had owned and operated the World of Hardwoods, a retail store he established in 1972, also in Harmans.

Mr. Henry joined the Air National Guard after moving to Maryland, and at his retirement in 1971 had attained the rank of brigadier general.

In his private life, Mr. Henry continued flying, using his Beechcraft Bonanza for business and pleasure trips.

"We took family flying vacations to Florida, or he'd fly to Camp Looseleaf, our camp in Rangeley, Maine, to go trout fishing," Mrs. Milligan said. "He'd sometimes fly his plane to Maine just to get fresh lobsters and then bring them home for our dinner."

He was an active member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4772 and the Catonsville Kiwanis Club.

He moved to Fairhaven, the Sykesville retirement community, in 2005, and last year to Copper Ridge.

His wife of 61 years, the former Renova Bryan, a life-master bridge player, died in 2004.

Mr. Henry was a member and had served on the board of Chapelgate Presbyterian Church, 2600 Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville, where services will be held at noon today.

Also surviving are a son, John Malcolm Henry of Elkridge; a brother, James Henry of Brookhaven, Pa.; a sister, Virginia Hussey of Pinehurst, N.C.; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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