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Eleanor Rose Records Henry: Longtime Claremonter

Longtime Claremonter, innovative Glendora schoolteacher, grandmother

Eleanor Rose Records Henry, a 38-year Claremont resident who taught at Washington School in Glendora for nearly as long, peacefully breathed her last in Los Angeles at the age of 92.

“She was beautiful. She was smart. She was funny. But more than anything she was kind,” her family shared.

Raised in Laurel, Delaware by a grandmother born in 1880 and a father who quit school in the third grade to help his own mother, she was the first in her family to earn a college degree, from the University of Delaware.

In 1949 she married Bob Henry, a boy she’d known since they were five, and together they raised four children: Derrick, Kirk, Todd and Susan.

Six months after building the house of their dreams in Dover, Delaware, they accepted an opportunity in California and lived there for the next 40 years, 38 of those in Claremont.

She chose teaching over research, but in summers spent back home with her father she scoured the Delaware libraries’ archived documents to become an authority and lecturer on Phineas T. Banning, the Delawarean whose vision built the Port of Los Angeles in the 19th century.

She taught the little ones—kindergarten to fourth grade. In her innovative classrooms she was the conductor, with two kids over here working on this, three over there tackling that, one who needed special attention sitting at her desk, another reading while reclined on a 1970 VW bus seat. Many of her former students came back when they had families of their own to ask if their children could be in her class; others credited her for inspiring them to teach.

As she neared retirement, administration prohibited any physical contact with students. She did not argue, but she persisted in giving each child a hug on the way out the door at the end of the day. This was her daily ritual, because she knew that this might be the only hug that some of her children received that day.

She retired back to Delaware with the love of her life, and together they savored the reunion of place and people they’d known all their lives.

The oldest grandchild of Martin Wilson Johnson and Rose Harkins Johnson, she lost her mother Gertrude Johnson Records, grandmother Annie J. Records, stepmother Mabel Mitchell Records, brother Kenneth and father William Records, son Derrick and husband Robert Henry, before herself departing.

She is survived by brother Stanley Records and his family; cousin Aline Records Hill, and many, many Johnson cousins; children Kirk, Todd and Susan Henry; and grandsons Andrew and Christopher Jones.

“She touched many, and people loved her,” her family related.

A graveside service was held on July 10 in Laurel, Delaware. Eleanor stipulated that contributions in lieu of flowers be made to support Claremont United Methodist Church’s Stand Against Racism and Campaign for Citizenship initiatives. Call (844) 251-6335 for information.

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