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'He was an inspiration ... motivator'

Longtime Laguna resident, former Festival president and award-winning TV producer Bob Henry dies.

March 22, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • Bob Henry, a longtime Laguna Beach resident and Emmy Award winner, died March 18. He was 92.
Bob Henry, a longtime Laguna Beach resident and Emmy Award… (Coastline Pilot )

Emmy Award-winning television producer Bob Henry died March 18 at his Laguna Beach home after a long illness. He was 92.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Catherine of Siena, preceded by a rosary at 9:30 a.m.

Henry will be remembered in the entertainment industry as an innovative producer and director of variety shows and series. However, in Laguna, the longtime resident was highly regarded for his involvement in community activities.

Henry served as Festival of Arts president in 2004. He was a member of the board for six years, starting in 2001, the year after the previous board was recalled for trying to move the festival out of town.

He was also an ardent gardener and served as president of the Laguna Beach Garden Club for two years. He and his wife, Annette, were once honored as Gardeners of the Year by the Orange County district of the California Garden Clubs Inc.

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Henry was also actively involved in promoting the building of a new senior center in Laguna Beach.

"Bob was with us from the very beginning when we started planning for the Laguna Beach senior center," said Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson, who was instrumental in fundraising for the center prior to her election to the council. "He was an inspiration and a motivator for all of us."

Henry also appeared with the Laguna Concert Band in its infancy and gave talks at the Assistance League and for the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library, of which he and his wife were members.

"He loved Laguna," said Annette Henry. "For years his license plate was "I ♥ Lguna."

The Henrys met on the sands between Crystal Cove and El Morro Trailer Park, where Henry had a mobile home starting in the 1960s.

"I was visiting and went for an early-morning walk, and he took a four-mile walk every day," said Annette Henry. "We met walking going in opposite directions, but he liked my smile."

For the next 30 years, they took the same path.

"He could still mouth 'I love you' on the day he died," Annette Henry said.

The Henrys bought their Laguna Beach home in 1980 and moved there full time when he retired.

Henry was born in Boston in 1919, and graduated from Tufts University in 1940. He performed as a comedian in the Catskills during the early 1940s, entertained the troops after WWII in the Pacific Theatre and served as an on-air personality for radio stations in Boston and New York in the late 1940s.

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