The Nashville City Civitan Club met today at Swett’s Restaurant in Nashville. Speaker Earl Henry turned the meeting into an eloquent homage to his father, artist Earl Henry, as well as his father’s WWII career and death on the USS Indianapolis on Nov. 8, 1911.
Beginning with a slide presentation of his father’s early work in taxidermy, Henry showed the group the evolution of his father’s artwork which began when Earl Henry was a dentist in Knoxville. Even when Henry joined the service, he continued drawing birds in the various locations where he was stationed. Some of Henry’s art is featured in the November/December 2011 issue of The Tennessee Conservationist.
Henry shared the touching story of his father’s letters home, carefully saved by his wife Jane Henry, and his fateful assignment to the USS Indianapolis. While one leave Henry and the rest of the crew were summoned back for an urgent secret mission. Later it would be learned the secret mission was the transportation of the atomic components of both atomic bombs.
At his last port of call in Guam, Earl Henry would receive the first photos of his infant son, also named Earl Henry. The proud father would write a hasty note to his new son on the back of an officer’s card which would become a loving father’s message from the grave. On July 30, 1940, the Indianapolis was sunk by the Japanese, Out of 1197 on board, only 317 survived. Lt. Commander Earl Henry was not among the survivors.
While the rest of the nation celebrated the end of the war, Jane Henry received the fateful telegraph telling her that Earl Henry was Missing in Action. Earl Henry was the only dentist from Tennessee killed in World War II. There is a website set up at www.EarlHenryBirdPrints.com with artwork and bird calls from Earl Henry as well as more of his story.
The Nashville City Civitan Club meets again on Nov. 16 for an Open Discussion about the upcoming papersale for Big Brothers, Salvation Army Bell Ringers, and the Civitan Basketball Tournament. Visitors are welcome.
The Nashville City Civitan Club meets the first and third Wednesdays of every month from 11:30 to 12:30 at Swett’s Restaurant on Clinton Ave. in West Nashville. Visitors are welcome.
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