The world lost a generous, loving soul on June 22, 2016 after a five and half year bout with cancer. David John Henry was born on November 11, 1945 in Seneca, Kansas to Bernard and Rachel (Waller) Henry. On July 23, 1966 he married Mary Milne. They celebrated an early 50 years of marriage this year in Jasper, Arkansas on a family vacation.
Dave grew up on a farm near Seneca, Kansas attending St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic School, where his passion for football began. He graduated with the class of 1963. After high school he attended K-State until the death of his brother Hank in a skiing accident. He left school to work in Kansas City and then Topeka, Kansas until his old high school coach, Matt May approached him to play football at the St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas. At the end of his junior year he was called to report for basic training in the Army. He was ready to go to Vietnam when the war ended. He went back to St. Mary of the Plains to finish school and graduated in 1969.
Coach Henry’s first teaching and coaching job took him back to his alma mater, St. Peter and Paul. After only one year there he left in 1970 to accept a job at Jackson Heights as the P.E. teacher, head football, and head boys track coach. He remained the head football and boys track coach through 1994. Several of his football teams earned playoff bids and the Cobras finished 2nd in the State on two occasions; in 1971 and 1983. Dave's teams always played hard, they were always fundamentally sound and were always respected by opposing coaches. He signed on to be an assistant football coach from 1996 until 2006 and also served as the Athletic Director for Jackson Heights from 1997 until 2007. Dave served as an assistant basketball coach off and on throughout his career at Jackson Heights, including when the Lady Cobras won the Class 1-A State Basketball Tournament and the Grand State Championship in 1976.
These were not the only contributions Dave Henry made to Jackson Heights. After Dave retired from teaching in 2007, he took on a school bus route from 2007 until he finally retired in the fall of 2015. From 1994 through the fall of 2015, Dave took great pride in caring for the school grounds and football field, which is now named "Dave Henry Football Field." His passion for the school was evident in the beautiful field and how he cared for the flowers that he planted.
He is survived by his wife Mary; three sisters, Teresa Meyer, Grace Buessing, and Gladys Deters; four brothers, Daniel, Ron, Mark, and Ed; three daughters, and son-in laws (all married to Dave's former football players), Volora and Matt Hanzlicek of Sabetha, Ceela and Jaime Schumann of Fairview, and Ericka and Josh Watkins of Holton and 9 grandchildren, Akaylah and Erik Jaeke, Alaina and Will Hickman, Gaven, Kegan, Ian, Isabell, Melinna and one great grandchild, Afton. Dave is preceded in death by his parents, Ben and Rachel; and four brothers, Leonard, John, Elmer, and Hank.
For the past six years, Dave has been battling cancer, but always had a positive attitude. This was the same attitude that he displayed as a coach, a teacher, and a mentor to everyone that crossed his path. Dave would tell you “it is the Cobra Way of doing things!” You would often hear him say, “Red eyeballs and snot bubbles,” “When you are on two yard line you have to punch it in!” and he was famous for eyeball kisses. He loved country music and playing his guitar for his girls to sing.
Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, June 27, 2016 at St. Augustine Catholic Church of Fidelity, south of Sabetha. Rosary will be prayed before service at 11:00 a.m. The immediate family will greet friends and family in a visitation at Jackson Heights High School Gymnasium from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, 2016. The interment will be made in the St. Augustine Church Cemetery. Family wishes memorial contributions to be made to Jackson Heights Athletics or the Memorial Cancer Fund sent in care of Popkess Mortuary, 823 Virginia Sabetha, Kansas 66534.