Henry remembered for priorities

March 15-April 15: 13th annual Jubilee Festival of the Arts (Thibodaux)
March 1, 2011
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March 15-April 15: 13th annual Jubilee Festival of the Arts (Thibodaux)
March 1, 2011
Elder abuse … old enough to know better
March 3, 2011

Family and friends remembered Willis Joseph Henry Jr. at a funeral service Thursday as a man who often put others first and always looked for the benefits a given issue would have for everyone involved over any self-interest.

Henry died on Feb. 21 from complication from pancreatitis.


Henry, 73, a native of Houma, was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran before he made a career in the oil industry until his retirement in 2002. He served on the final police jury of Terrebonne Parish beginning in 1980 and made the transition to a parish council form of government when the parish and the city of Houma consolidated in 1984. He remained on the parish council until 1988.


In 1980, Henry became a member of the Terrebonne Parish Levee and Conservation District. He served as president of that board for four years and in time was selected to serve as vice president.

Henry was strongly involved in community development and served on the board of directors for the Terrebonne General Medical Center.


Former state senator and current Levee District Executive Director Reggie Dupre said that Henry was a long-term mentor to him and helped Dupre develop his own management style.

“I don’t think people understand that to change from a police jury to a parish council form of government with a parish president, it took somebody like Willis,” Dupre said. “A lot of my attributes as a public official I give credit to Willis. I saw his style of handling problems and was impressed with it.”

“[Henry has] taught me a lot and helped me to be an effective president,” Alford said. “His decisions were always based on what is best for the parish, not just where he lives.”

His parents, Willis Henry, Sr., and Beulah Bergeron Henry; and brother Harvey Henry, Sr. preceded him in death.

Henry is survived by his wife, Juliet, to whom he was married 53 years; three daughters, Darlene Breaux (David), Monique Bradberry (Gordon), and Melissa DiSalvo; two sons, David Henry (Shawn), and William Henry; one Sister, Betty Gray; 12 grandchildren, Aaron Breaux, Nicole DiSalvo, Russell DiSalvo III, Megan Henry, Morgan Henry, Spencer Henry, Hunter Henry, Sarah Henry, Gordon Bradberry, Daniel Bradberry; and two great-grandchildren, Jackson Breaux and William Laird.

Smart Funeral Home of Houma handled funeral arrangements.