September 24, 1943 - January 2, 2019
10:30 am Monday January 28, 2019
Willamette National Cemetery
Portland, Oregon 97216
Joseph Horace McHenry departed this life surrounded by love on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.
Joseph (Joe) was born in Phoenix, Arizona on September 24, 1943 to the union of Pearl (Pearlie) Nolen and Lawrence McHenry. Sr. Pearl set a precedent early that education was important and enrolled Joseph in St. Matthews where he excelled in sports and academics. Joseph was the first African American to attend and graduate from Brophy College Preparatory. His grandson Mark followed in his footsteps as a 2004 Brophy graduate. While a student at Brophy, Joseph received many accolades and honors including the Arizona Boys Club – Young Man of the year award, All-State Honorable Mention for football, and All-State in basketball. He was also on the Brophy Debate team. Joseph went on to start his college education at Phoenix College and later earned his Bachelors of Science degree from Portland State University. Joseph was initiated through Alpha Theta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. at Arizona State University.
Joe enlisted in the U.S. Army with exceptional scores and was stationed in Ft. Carson, Colorado. Later, Joseph attended U.S. Army Primary Helicopter School at Ft. Wolters in Mineral Wells, Texas and completed advanced training at the U.S. Army Aviation Center in Ft. Rucker, Alabama at which time he became a helicopter pilot. Upon graduating, in the top of his class in 1965, he was assigned to support a number of operations in the Vietnam War with Company A, 82nd Aviation Brigade, 173rd Airborne Brigade. On March 16, 1966, the helicopter Joseph was piloting was shot down and he sustained injuries along with several of his flight crew. For that mission, Joseph was awarded the Purple Heart. During his military career, Joseph was also awarded the Air Medal with 17th Oak Leaf Cluster, awarded to individuals who have distinguished themselves by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. The number of Oak Leaf Clusters distinguish the number of times he was recognized with this medal. The Chief Warrant Officer’s service to our country is chronicled in the Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, in the Liberty of Congress. Joseph retired from his twenty-two years of service completing his career with the Oregon Army National Guard. Joseph lived in Portland, Oregon for many years and was a founding member of the Portland Chapter of The National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. (NABVETS).
Not many people can say they are the Jack of all trades, but Joseph came pretty close. He taught at POIC Rosemary Anderson School and served as the Director of Diverse and Technical Programs. He also hosted radio and television shows, was a small business owner, an activist, a chef, an exceptional dancer, a published poet, and the list goes on and on. With his effervescent personality, Joseph could walk into any social setting and make new friends for life. If you knew Joe, you knew the pride he took in his culinary skills. A dinner prepared by Chef Joseph would include insightful conversation with a 5 Star meal paired with the perfect wine or his signature margarita. Joseph met his devoted wife Michele while in Oregon and together they traveled the world. Above all, he lived his life devoted to civic duty and with the responsibility to improve his community.
Joseph was preceded in death by his father Lawrence, mother Pearl, daughter Jendayi and son Jelani. He leaves behind, his wife Michele, daughters Colette, Celise (husband Sean Granberry), Denise (husband Antoine Ratliff), Donna (wife Sharicka McHenry), and son David all of Arizona, brothers Lawrence (wife Valerie) of Texas and Michele of Arizona, a host of grandkids, cousins, additional family and many wonderful friends.