In memory of V. J. Henry, Jr.
The Cumberland Island Museum and Georgia lost a fine man, positive thinker, and leader when VJ departed. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and died peacefully in his Savannah home on 12 May, 2010.
A native of Port Arthur, Texas, VJ received his doctorate in Oceanography from Texas A & M in 1961. He joined the faculty at the University of Georgia and became associated with the University’s Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, where he and his family lived until 1971. His career included teaching, research, and administration, with an 18 month leave to the National Science Foundation as Program Director for Marine Geology and Geophysics within the Oceanography section. He had been on the faculty of both Georgia State University (1982) and Georgia Southern University (1992) where he became Director of the Applied Coastal Research Lab on Skidaway Island in Savannah until his retirement in 2002. He served on the Board of the Cumberland Island Museum from 2007 until his death.
In the early 1970’s, while associated with the Marine Institute at Sapelo, along with three others, he authored the Geology Chapter in the “Ecology of the Cumberland Island National Seashore,” a report to the National Park Service. VJ, or “Jim” as some knew him, was also involved with research regarding dredging associated with Kings Bay Naval Base.
VJ also invested his energy and knowledge in conservation efforts. He was intimately associated with the Center for a Sustainable Coast and the Georgia Chapter of Wilderness Watch. Here on Cumberland Island, the National Park Service manages the resource, and he found dealing with the NPS was most frustrating and discouraging. He continually lamented that the Seashore was run like a state park in a third world country.
Ever the teacher and researcher, VJ never ran out of questions or plans to help answer them. As a Board member of the Cumberland Island Museum, he was always actively striving to DO something. Plans to gather information on aspects of the geology of Cumberland Island will have to be put on hold for a while.