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Paul Henry

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1985 – July 31, 1993
Preceded by Harold S. Sawyer
Succeeded by Vern Ehlers

Born July 9, 1942(1942-07-09)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died July 31, 1993 (aged 51)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Political party Republican
Alma mater Wheaton College, Duke University
Religion Christian Reformed Church

Paul Brentwood Henry (July 9, 1942 – July 31, 1993) was a professor of political science and politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.


Early life and career

Henry was born in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Pasadena High School, Pasadena, California, in 1959. His father Carl F. H. Henry, a noted theologian, was one of the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary and the founding editor of Christianity Today.

Henry received a B.A. from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois in 1963, and then was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia and Ethiopia from 1963 to 1965. Upon returning to the United States, he attended graduate school at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, earning a M.A. in 1968, and a Ph.D. in 1970.

Henry was professor of political science at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1970 to 1978.

Political career

From 1965 to 1970, while he was a graduate student at Duke, Henry served two stints as a staffer for Congressman John B. Anderson (R-IL). During 1968 and 1969, while Anderson was the third-ranking Republican in Congress, Henry's job involved promoting good communication within the party caucus.

In 1974, after Henry had been at Calvin College for several years, a Democrat (Richard Vander Veen) won the congressional seat centered on Grand Rapids, long held by Gerald Ford, in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Henry was subsequently asked to provide new direction to the Kent County Republican Party as its new chairman. The following year, Henry was appointed by Governor William Milliken to the Michigan State Board of Education, on which he served from 1975 to 1978.

Henry ran for an open seat in the Michigan State House of Representatives in 1978, and served in that body from 1979 to 1982, then moving up to serve one term in the Michigan State Senate. In 1984, Henry was elected as a Republican from Michigan's 5th District to the U.S. House of Representatives, winning the open seat being vacated by Republican Congressman Harold S. Sawyer. He was re-elected four times. After redistricting due to the United States 1990 Census, he was elected from Michigan's 3rd District in 1992. Henry served in Congress for 8 1/2 years, from 3 January 1985 until his death.


In October 1992, two weeks before election day, Henry was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery a few days before he was re-elected to his fifth term in Congress. He regained strength briefly and was able to attend his swearing-in to the 103rd Congress on 3 January 1993, but then began to decline again.

Paul Henry died in Grand Rapids on 31 July 1993, at age 51, after a nine-month battle with brain cancer. He is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids.


He was succeeded in Congress by Vernon James Ehlers, a fellow faculty member at Calvin College.

Grand Valley State University is home to Henry Hall. The building, named after Paul B. Henry, houses the Biology department, three lecture halls, and several computer labs.

Michigan State Highway 6, a highway on the south side of Grand Rapids connecting Interstate 96 and Interstate 196, was named the Paul B. Henry Freeway. Construction on the highway began in 1997 and was completed in 2004, four years ahead of schedule.

Calvin College established The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics in 1997 to continue the work of integrating Christian faith and politics advanced by its namesake,

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harold S. Sawyer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
James Barcia
Preceded by
Howard Wolpe
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 3rd congressional district

Succeeded by
Vernon Ehlers


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