Douglas Henry, state’s longest serving lawmaker, dies at 90

(Courtesy: Family of Douglas Henry via WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Douglas Henry, Tennessee’s longest serving political leader and lawmaker has died.

Henry, a Nashville native, passed away at his home shortly before midnight on Sunday, the family said. The 90-year-old Democrat served Nashville’s District 21 from 1970-2014. He was originally elected to the House in 1954.

“I first had the opportunity to work with Doug Henry in the mid-1990s during my time as commissioner of finance, and I last spoke with him on Friday to tell him how much I thought of him,” said Senator Bob Corker. “He was a true gentleman and a true Tennessee statesman. No one focused more over a longer period on the fiscal issues facing our state than Senator Henry, and with a steady hand and wise guidance, he set a tremendous example of bipartisanship and integrity in public service. I will truly miss Doug’s friendship and will keep the entire Henry family in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

“There was no one in the Tennessee General Assembly who demonstrated integrity, courtesy and financial stability more than Douglas Henry. To him, party politics were of no importance. The citizens he served were what mattered. His example will be important for years to come,” said U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander.

Henry retired in 2014 after more than four decades of service. He also served in the Army in World War II. He got his start as an attorney after he graduated from Vanderbilt University. Colleagues call Henry a true statesman. Both Speaker Beth Harwell and Gov. Bill Haslam visited with Henry last week.

Aubrey Harwell, a close friend of Henry’s and the head of Neal & Harwell PLC in Nashville, called Henry, “A great man and good and honest public official with compassion and gentleness.”

Henry is survived by five children.

Congressman Steve Cohen stated:

“I served with Senator Douglas Henry for 24 years in the Tennessee State Senate. Senator Henry was a scholar, a gentleman, a public man and a state man. No one loved Tennessee more. Since I learned of Senator Henry’s passing, I have been reflecting on our debates on social issues from the lottery to women’s choice to horse racing and to DC statehood. On all of these issues, we had drastically different views, yet we shared a mutual respect that led us to support the other’s election efforts. He could disagree without ever being disagreeable. Senator Henry was fortunate to share his life with his loving and devoted wife, Miss Lolly, whom he loved very much, and children and grandchildren to whom he was devoted.”

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