Herrin native, Richard “Dick” Henley will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at HerrinFesta Italiana May 19 at the annual Mayor’s Dinner to kick-off Festa 2009 in and around The Herrin Civic Center.
In l990 Henley concluded a 35-year career as a veteran educator and administrator with 32 of those years spent in the Herrin school system. He is a l949 graduate of Herrin High School and always “knew I would go on to college and become a coach or teacher, I loved sports.” When he retired, then Herrin Unit Superintendent, William Clarida, said,” He is a class fellow; Dick is someone who cares about the school district and about the students.”He is a man of multiple interests and talents. He is co-owner of Egypt Trophy and Awards, Inc. in Herrin with Dawn McNeill and works daily in the business on West Cherry Street that began in l974. His love of teaching and coaching works in tandem with his longtime interest in officiating local sporting events.
He is remembered as an outstanding basketball and football official in the region’s sports arena. For 22 years he could be found on basketball courts and football fields throughout the area. He was named to officiate Illinois High School Association Basketball Regionals l8 times, 9 Sectionals, and 6 Super Sectionals.
He was on the floor for the last three one-class boy’s basketball tournaments in Champaign in 1969, 1970 and 1971. Henley joined Ted Search of Chester as the officials for the l970 championship game between Lyons Township (LaGrange) and United Township (East Moline). He was assigned to work the championship game of the first two years of the IHSA Football State play offs in l975-76.
He was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame for his officiating in 1985. He was inducted into the Herrin Tiger Hall of Fame in 2002.
He began his teaching and coaching career at Carterville Junior High at the request of then-Superintendent Taft Baker. He taught in the district from 1955-58 while he earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Southern Illinois University -Carbondale. He also holds a Master’s degree from SIU in education administration. In l958 Henley became a sixth grade teacher at South Side School in Herrin.
He served as principal of Energy Grade School from 1959-l968 and was the junior high coach until l966. He served as Assistant Principal at Herrin High School from l968-l984 where he served as athletic director until l976. He moved to the Herrin South Side grade school and junior high in l984 and served as Principal until his retirement in 1990.
He is the son of Julia Marlow and Harry Henley. His grandparents, George and Maria Lualdi Marlow, were part of the early growth of Herrin. His aunt and uncles were Francis Quaglia, George Marlow, Jr., William “Bill” Marlow and James “Jimmy” Marlow. He and his mother and sister, Joan Chamness Buckner, of Benton lived with his grandfather at 809 North l4th Street in Herrin.
His grandfather founded Southern Beverage Company and was a partner in the Marlow’s and Annex Theaters in Herrin. His great uncle, John Marlow, owned and operated White City Park in Herrin. His fondest memory of the famous entertainment center centers around his wife. He remembers attending a dance with friends at White City. He met Nancy Howerton of Marion and asked her to dance. That dance began their courtship and culminated in their marriage in 1952. They have been married 56 years. White City Park is now a parking lot adjacent to the Northside Primary Center on North l7th Street.
Henley lettered in basketball, track and baseball at Herrin Township High School and remembers playing any kind of “pick up game” in his neighborhood with his friends. He was a starter on the l947-1949 Herrin Tiger basketball teams. Henley graduated from St. Mary’s Elementary School (now OLMC). His teammates at Herrin High included Shirlan Eckert and Earl Hatfield from Chittyville, Don Miller from Colp, LeRoy Brandon, from Clifford, Charles Engler, Freeman Spur and Bill Duncan, Melvin Hill, Jimmy Smith, Leymone Hardcastle and David Graham from Herrin. Russ Emery was coach. It was the most winning team in school history with a Tiger record of 24-4.
While at SIU he played basketball for the Maroons (now Saluki’s) from l949-1952. He was drafted and served in the U. S. Army from 1952 – 1954, and began his officiating career in the Army.
He is a lifetime member of the American Legion, BPOE, the Knights of Columbus, the SIU Alumni Association, the SIU Letterman’s Club, Herrin Rotary and Herrin and Carterville Chambers of Commerce. He is a member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Herrin.
Golf has been a big part of Dick’s life. He still plays twice a week and enjoys the competitive nature of the game and the many friends he has made on the links.
He and his wife Nancy who is a certified electrologist have two children, son and daughter in law, Bruce and Elisa Henley of Herrin and daughter and son in law, Ramona and Charles Alexander of Acworth, GA. They have 4 grandchildren and 3 great granddaughters.
Ted Search of Chester, who officiated with Henley, and a longtime friend, says, “He is a man who can be strictly business, but he has a wonderful lighter side that makes him a well rounded man. He was an exceptional official and I could not have had a better partner to work with in the State Tournaments or anytime. He has been a good friend for many years.”
Henley and his family will be honored throughout HerrinFesta Italiana May 19-25 as Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.