kids encyclopedia robot

Douglas Henry facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Douglas Henry
Douglas Henry (13785717623) (1).jpg
Henry in 2014
Member of the Tennessee Senate
from the 21st district
In office
Succeeded by Jeff Yarbro
Personal details
Born (1926-05-18)May 18, 1926
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Died March 5, 2017(2017-03-05) (aged 90)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Vanderbilt University
Profession Attorney

Douglas Selph Henry Jr. (May 18, 1926 – March 5, 2017) was an American attorney and Democratic politician. He was the longest-serving member of the Tennessee legislature. He was a member of the Tennessee Senate, representing the 21st district (part of Davidson County). He served as a state senator beginning with his election to the 87th General Assembly, prior to which he was a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives during the 79th General Assembly.

Early life

Henry was born on May 14, 1926 in Nashville, Tennessee to Kathryn Craig Henry and Douglas Selph Henry, Sr. He grew up in Belle Meade, Tennessee, where he was raised as a Presbyterian. His grandfather, Cornelius Abernathy (C.A.) Craig. was the founder of the National Life and Accident Insurance Co., and his father, Douglas Selph Henry Sr., served in the Tennessee Senate. Robert Selph Henry, his uncle, was an attorney and a historian who authored history books, such as The Story of the Confederacy (1931) and The Story of Reconstruction (1938).

Henry was educated at The Parmer School, Wallace School, and The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and graduated from the Montgomery Bell Academy in 1941.

Henry served as a member of the United States Army in the Philippines for over two years during World War II. He received the Philippine Independence Medal.

Henry graduated with a BA in French, Greek, and Latin from College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University. He subsequently earned an LL.B from the Vanderbilt Law School.


Henry began his career a practising attorney and legal counsel to the family business, the National Life and Accident Insurance Co.

Henry made an initial and unsuccessful bid for election into the Tennessee House of Representatives during 1952. Henry was first elected into the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1954.

Henry was absent from politics during the 1960s, working as a corporate attorney for National Life Insurance Company.

Returning to the political arena in 1970, Henry was elected 11 consecutive times to the Tennessee State Senate, most recently narrowly defeating challenger Jeff Yarbro in the 2010 primary by just 17 votes.


Henry stated that he legislatively supported "education, children's welfare, and voting rights". In 1978, Henry helped pass a law in Tennessee for the mandatory use of child seat belts.

End of legislative service

When the Republicans became the majority in the state Senate in 2007, they called Henry the “chairman emeritus” of the body's Finance Committee out of respect. Despite being from the minority party, his views within the committee were given disproportionate weight.

After his district was drastically altered by the Republican Legislative majority, Henry announced he would not seek re-election in 2014, instead opting to retire. Yarbro, Henry's challenger in 2010, defeated current Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini in the 2014 primary and is the current Senator from the 21st District.

By the time he retired, he was the longest-serving member of the Tennessee legislature, with a 23-year record. On his retirement, the State Comptroller of the Treasury, Justin P. Wilson, called him "a true gentleman."

Personal life

With his wife, Loiette Hume "Lolly" Henry, Henry had two sons named Robert Selph Henry and Douglas Cornelius Hume Henry, and four daughters named Loiette Henry Thompson, Kathryn Henry-Choisser, Mary Leland Henry Wehner, and the late Emily McMahon. Lolly died in December 2016.


Henry died on March 5, 2017, at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. Shortly after his death, former Vice President Al Gore called him "a dear friend". Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam called him "a powerhouse intellect, courteous, kind, genuine and a statesman" and added "I will miss knowing that his wisdom and perspective are only a phone call away". The mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry, praised his "high standard for decorum and decency in public life" while Vanderbilt University's chancellor Nicholas Zeppos called him "a distinguished public servant, esteemed Vanderbilt alumnus, generous benefactor and dear friend."

Henry's body was to lie in state in the Tennessee State Capitol on March 9, 2017, which has not happened since Governor Austin Peay in 1927. His funeral was planned to be held at the Downtown Presbyterian Church on March 10, 2017.

kids search engine
Douglas Henry Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.