Posted on: August 12, 2022
Reginald Buchanan Henry, Jr. passed away at home on March 29, 2022, at the age of 95. He was born in Norfolk, VA, on July 18, 1926, the son of the late Captain and Mrs. Reginald Buchanan Henry, Sr., Medical Corps, U.S. Navy. After graduating from Woodberry Forest School in 1944, he entered the Navy V-12 Unit at the University of Virginia and received his B.A. in 1946, and then his M.D. from the University of Virginia in 1950. He was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Fraternity and the president of the Nu Sigma Nu Medical Fraternity.
Following an internship in internal medicine at Duke University Hospital, he went on active duty in the U.S. Navy being stationed at the Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune, NC, and then at the Field Medical Service School at Montfort Point. In 1952, he was in combat in Korea as a battalion surgeon with the Second Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. He served on the front lines, providing the first care to injured Marines before they were transported to the Navy Hospital Company in safer territory. In addition to the Korean service medal with 3 battle stars, he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”. Afterwards he was stationed at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, VA, and then served as the medical officer on the U.S.S. Libra (K-12) with the Amphibious Force of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. In 1954 he began a residency in internal medicine at Cincinnati General Hospital followed by a fellowship in gastroenterology.
In 1957 he returned to Norfolk and entered medical practice with Drs. Walter B. Martin, John Franklin and Robert B. Gahagan. They grew the practice into what would become the Norfolk Diagnostic Clinic, where he worked until he retired in 1992. Bucky was the quintessential doctor with a little black bag who made house calls, was a wonderful listener and answered medical calls from home 24 hours a day. Over the years he was a member of the AMA, the Norfolk Academy of Medicine, the Medical Society of Virginia and was on the medical staff of DePaul Hospital, Norfolk General Hospital, and Leigh Memorial Hospital, and on the faculty of the Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Bucky was a faithful member of Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and served three times on its Vestry. Following retirement, he enjoyed playing doubles tennis and volunteering as a docent on the battleship Wisconsin in downtown Norfolk. He loved tending his garden and spending time at the Sandbridge family cottage.
But by far his greatest pleasure was spending time with his family. He and Barbara loved visiting their children, grandchildren, and extended family, spreading laughs across the country. He relished interacting with all generations and could hold a room captive with stories of his remarkable life. Holidays were a celebration of family, and it was always a challenge to see how many people could be squeezed into the Henry home. Friends, old and new, were always welcomed, and all who got to know him felt as if they were part of the family.
Bucky will be remembered for his kindness, gentleness, and humility. He was admired and loved dearly by his family, friends, patients, neighbors, and all those whose paths he crossed. The Henry home was a fixture of the West Ghent neighborhood for well over 50 years, a hub for friends and family, but above all, for dog lovers. It was remarked more than once that the best you could hope for after death was to come back as a Henry dog. He loved walking and biking the Elizabeth River Trail from West Ghent to downtown Norfolk and could tell you the history of every part.
He was predeceased by his first wife of 10 years, Ruth McAfee Henry, and his second wife of 51 years, Barbara Dix Henry, who brought love, laughter, and happiness back into his family.
He is survived by his children and their spouses, namely: Dr. Reginald Buchanan Henry, III (Deb), Elizabeth Henry Lehman (Bart), Dr. Edmund Ruffin Henry (Miriam), Dr. Thomas Dix Henry (Courtney) as well as by his grandchildren: Rebecca (Byron), Bucky (Lindsay), Libby, Ruffin, Sarah, Allwyn, Jane and Gray and his great-grandchild: Henry. He was predeceased by his sister Evelyn Henry Sargeant.
Memorial donations may be made in Bucky’s honor to the Elizabeth River Trail Foundation at PO Box 3042, Norfolk VA 23514-3042.