Samuel R. McHenry, Jr. – LBG #79

Samuel R. McHenry, Jr., 88, Gettysburg, passed away after losing a protracted fight with esophageal cancer on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, at the Gettysburg Hospital.

He was born July 25, 1922 in Pottstown, the son of the late Samuel R. and Ruth Rudy McHenry. His wife of 61 years, Barbara Cox McHenry of York, died in 2009.

Samuel is survived by three children, Teri J. McHenry of Troy, Pa., Daniel J. McHenry and his wife, Deborah Wagner of Cashtown, who live in New Port Richey, Fla., and James R. McHenry of Gettysburg; and one grandson, Joshua J. McHenry and his wife, Megan of Maine. He was predeceased by a son, Samuel R. McHenry, III, and a brother, James R. McHenry. 

Mr. McHenry was a member of the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church. He was raised in Norristown, and graduated from Norristown High School in 1940. In the middle of college he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served during World War II until 1946. He returned to Grove City College  and earned a B.A. in 1947. He received a M.A. and M.S. at the University of Pennsylvania and also worked on his doctorate there and at Penn State University. He also attended the University of Wisconsin.

Sam taught history in Phoenixville Senior High School and coached football, basketball and track. He also taught at York High school.  For 28 years he served as an administrator in various Pennsylvania schools such as principal of Dover High School, Chartiers Valley High School in Pittsburgh, and as a secondary assistant superintendent in the Harrisburg School District. Samuel finished his career in 1982, retiring as superintendent of the Fairfield School District. In addition, he taught part-time for Penn State University, Duquesne University and the Consortium of Colleges in Harrisburg.

In 1986 he was tested and licensed as Battlefield Guide with badge # 79.  He served as a guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park until 1992. His retirement years also marked a return to playing in many local bands, including the Harrisburg Zembo Shrine Band, York Tall Cedars Band, Harrisburg Consistory Orchestra and the Apple Core Band of Biglerville. Samuel also played the bagpipes with the Zembo Shrine in Harrisburg for 25 years. While in high school, he sang in the State Champion Male Quartet and also sang in Major Bowes Amateur Hour on the radio. He also sang in many church choirs and choral groups. Samuel had a lifelong love of reading and enjoyed extensive travel throughout the United States and Europe with Barbara.

Samuel was a member of the Blue Lodge of Gettysburg, Commander of the Commandry of Gettysburg, and High Priest of the Chapter. He was also a member of the Council in Chambersburg, Tall Cedars of York, Shrine in York, South Central Consistory in Hanover, Consistory and Shrine in Harrisburg, Eastern Star in Gettysburg, Amaranth in Harrisburg, and the Red Cross of Constantine stationed in York.

For 14 years, he was secretary/treasurer of Pennsylvania Association of Secondary School Principals, member of Phi Delta Kappa, superintendents of school principals association, served on many school evaluation committees, past president of the Fairfield Lions Club. He attended Gettysburg Lions Club, Legion of Honor in Harrisburg, American Legion Post 202 Gettysburg, taught Sunday school at the Gateway Presbyterian Church, and was active in various Boy Scout troops.

Funeral services will be held Monday, February 21, from Gettysburg Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Louis Nyiri and the Rev. David Wright officiating. Interment will be private in Riverside Cemetery, Norristown. There will be a viewing at the church on Monday from 10 a.m. until the time of the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Martha Lloyd Community Services, 66 Lloyd St., Troy, PA 16947; or another philanthropic organization. Online obituary and condolences available at