Norman Henry (1935- 2010), the charming and beloved Guyanese-American entrepreneur, author, real estate developer and founder of the famed Henry House Catering and Banquet Hall in Brooklyn, died peacefully in his sleep at 6:00 a.m. at his Brooklyn residence from heart failure on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010. He was 75.
The news of his passing was reported by his daughter Michelle Henry. He is survived by Michelle and son Jerry. A viewing was held on Sunday, Nov. 28, at Guarino Funeral Home, 9222 Flatlands Ave, in the Carnasie section of Brooklyn, from 4:00 p.m.
Norman Henry was the consummate individual and a boldly ambitious Caribbean American immigrant. Born in poverty in Guyana of an East Indian mother and African descent father. Henry endured back-breaking work in the cane fields and at other menial jobs, to be later chosen to serve in The Guyana Police force, before migrating to the United States in search of education and opportunity, which he found.
Henry would earn advanced degrees, work as a public accountant, open his own successful accounting firm, real estate ventures and later opened the most renowned and successful Caribbean American-owned banquet and catering facility — the elegant Henry House Catering and Banquet Hall, — the pride of the New York’s Caribbean American community.
There, Henry hosted receptions for presidents of his native country and catered many elite receptions, including the first victory party for Dr. Una Clarke, the first Caribbean American to be elected to the New York City Council. He would eventually meet the president of the United States, cabinet members, iconic arts and entertainment figures and was well known to come to the aid of the less fortunate, both in his homeland and in his adopted land.
He later sold his famed catering house, retired and wrote an absorbing memoir, Adversity Is Temporary about his rags–to- riches life.
Henry was a founding member of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry and served as grand marshall of the West Indian American Day Parade.
He was honored by the Guyana Folk Festival Association, The Network Journal magazine and the office of the New York City comptroller, among many other.
Norman Henry was also known for his sartorial elegance and his cheerful disposition. He will be dearly missed.