Henry A. Essex obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Henry A. Essex

March 1, 1917 - March 20, 2015

Obituary


Henry A. Essex, 98, died peacefully in his home on Friday with his wife Antoinette and other family by his side. He was born in Washington DC, March 1, 1917. He was a ROTC candidate at the University of Maryland where and graduated with honors in mechanical engineering. He spent World War II trapped away from the action, as he saw it then, working in a government aeronautical unit which spearheaded innovation in aircraft engines.

After the war he worked as an instructor of mathematics at Fenn College, then entered Case Western Reserve Medical...

Henry A. Essex, 98, died peacefully in his home on Friday with his wife Antoinette and other family by his side. He was born in Washington DC, March 1, 1917. He was a ROTC candidate at the University of Maryland where and graduated with honors in mechanical engineering. He spent World War II trapped away from the action, as he saw it then, working in a government aeronautical unit which spearheaded innovation in aircraft engines.

After the war he worked as an instructor of mathematics at Fenn College, then entered Case Western Reserve Medical School. In 1948 he married Patricia Simpson. Henry graduated from medical school in 1950 and, now with a family to support, elected to do his residency in orthopedics as an army officer. Thus he began active duty in 1950, precisely as the Korean War broke out. He volunteered for the infantry and served, sometimes in combat, as battalion surgeon. His first day under fire, he reported later, cured him of eagerness for action.

He then completed his residency at Brook Army Medical Center, San Antonio, and Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu. He rose to Chief of Orthopedics at Valley Forge Army Hospital, and then Chief of Surgery at Dewitt Hospital, Fort Belvoir.

In 1967 he volunteered to serve in Vietnam. He was stationed in Nha Trang where he served, again under fire, during the Tet Offensive in early 1968. Upon his return he was made hospital commander at Fort Eustis, Virginia. He subsequently returned to Korea as Eighth Army Surgeon, chief medical officer for American army in that country. He concluded his army career in the rank of Colonel, as TRADOC Surgeon, Fort Monroe, Virginia.

After a brief sojourn as industrial safety officer at Groton Submarine Base, Henry returned to the constituency he knew best and practiced medicine at Davis Park Veterans Hospital in Providence. In 1982 he married Antoinette Kane in Hudson, New Hampshire.

Gregarious, generous, and kind, Henry Essex was a lover of people, if not mankind in general. He was also a man of endless energy and wide curiosity, who to his last days loved to master hands-on tasks. He was at various times in his long life a private pilot, a scuba diver, avid golfer, champion pistol shot, deft fly fisherman, woodworker, font of literary quotation, and, above all, a fanatical sailor, sometimes unto the consternation of his loved ones. He was also a supremely patient and gifted teacher.

He is survived in by his wife Antoinette, of Ledyard, and by his children, David, of Washington DC, Catherine and Judith of Ledyard, and Richard, of Westmont, IL. He will be interred at a later date in Arlington Cemetery with full military honors.