WILKES-BARRE — As one close friend said Monday, the greater Wyoming Valley community has lost “a giant.”
Frank Henry, chairman emeritus of The Martz Group and a noted philanthropist, died Sunday. He was 85.
A funeral service will be held Thursday at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 474 Yalick Road, Dallas. Visitation will be held at the church Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Harold C. Snowdon Funeral Home, Inc., Shavertown, is handling the funeral arrangements.
Word of Henry’s passing resulted in an outpouring of condolences and memories from many in the community about Henry’s business acumen and his generosity.
Hal Flack, retired president of Diamond Manufacturing and a resident of Dallas, has known Henry and his family for 52 years.
“I was 21 years old when I lost my father — he was a wonderful father and I miss him every day,” Flack said. “Frank Henry stepped in to that role and did so much more. He mentored us through difficult times, he served as an adviser to our company for over 25 years, he always treated me and my family like a members of his own family.”
Flack said as he got older that relationship blossomed into a beautiful close personal friendship.
“Frank taught us so much,” Flack said. “He taught us about philanthropy, the joy of helping others and how important it is to give back to this wonderful community that has been so good to us. As a friend mentioned to me early this morning, our community just lost a giant. His absence will be felt by so many for a long long time. Frank’s spirit and his legacy will forever remain in our hearts. We are truly blessed to have had him in our lives.”
Scott Henry said his father loved his family and always put them first.
“He was a devoted husband to my mother Dorthea ‘Dottie’ Henry, a loving father to my sister, Marjorie, my brother Hank and myself,” Scott said. “He loved spending time with all his grandchildren and was fortunate to have the family surrounding him for his passing at his home.”
After his family, Scott said his father’s passion was the Frank Martz Coach Company, which he guided for more than five decades.
“He always credited his success to the many employees, who he thought of as his extended family,” Scott said. “He appreciated the residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania who rode the Martz buses and loved helping those in need whenever he could.”
Scott said the Henry family is “very proud of my father and I know the company and the area are better for him being in it. He will be missed.”
Support for schools
John C. Bravman, PhD, Chairman, Geisinger Health Board of Directors, issued a statement, expressing sadness on Henry’s passing. Frank Henry served more than a quarter century on the Geisinger Board of Directors, including 17 years as board chairman.
“Through his astute leadership, guidance and commitment, he played a key role in transforming Geisinger from a regional health system into a global leader of innovative healthcare,” Bravman said.
Henry also had served on the Wyoming Seminary Board of Trustees since 1967. John Shafer, vice president of advancement, said the Sem community was profoundly saddened to learn of his passing.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” Shafer said. “It is hard to think of someone who has played a more vital role in the growth and development of the school over the 43 years that I have worked here than Frank Henry.”
Shafer said Henry was a 1950 graduate of Wyoming Seminary and had been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1967, serving as chairman from 1973 to 1979. His three children and nine grandchildren are also Sem graduates.
“His vision and leadership were so instrumental in helping the school to recover from the Agnes Flood in 1972” Shafer said. “There is truly not a leadership position at this institution that he has not held. He also was a faithful member of his class and often attended class reunions and gatherings.”
Shafer also said Henry’s legacy lives on at Sem with the Frank and Dottie Henry Auditorium in the Kirby Center for Creative Arts, as well as the Frank Henry Scholarship Fund.
The Misericordia University community was also saddened to learn of Henry’s passing.
“Northeastern Pennsylvania lost a true friend today with the passing of Mr. Henry,’’ said Misericordia University President Thomas J. Botzman. “Mr. Henry and his family utilized their business acumen, treasure and compassion for humankind to invest in quality of life issues that touch all people.”
Botzman said Henry’s late wife, Dorothea, faithfully served as a Misericordia trustee in the 1980s and his daughter, Marjorie Henry Marquart — an alumna — serves on the board today.
During a recent meeting at Martz Group in Wilkes-Barre, Botzman said Henry reflected on his gift — $5 million — that will help Misericordia construct the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center.
“We like doing things in a quiet way,’’ Henry said at the time. “When you are born and raised here — and the community has been very good to us — if there is anything we can do to help the community we want to do it. And, supporting Misericordia is another way of doing it.’’
Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association, called Henry “an absolute icon.”
Pantuso said, “Everyone absolutely loved him. It’s a tremendous loss.”
Henry was the longest serving active board member of the association, and was a former chairman.
“He was an incredible gentleman,” Pantuso said. “The kind of individual that when he spoke, everyone listened.”
In 2015, Henry took a step back from his leadership position at Martz, handing the reigns over to his son, Scott. In a Times Leader story, Henry talked about the importance of safety, courtesy, efficiency, loyalty, community.
“They have been and always will be the basic foundation of the company’s success,” Henry said. “We’ve never forgotten from where we came. And we strive every day to provide good service that is safe, reliable and courteous and at a reasonable price.”
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.