Dorothy Henry, a writer and editor at the Department of Agriculture before she retired in 1999, and a long-time activist in community affairs and the Democratic Party in Northern Virginia, died February 15 at her home in Washington, DC of cardiopulmonary disease. She was 88.
From 1979 to 1999, Ms. Henry was a supervisory writer and editor at the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture. From 1972 until 1979, she served as a legislative assistant to former U.S. Congressman Donald M. Fraser, Democrat of Minnesota.
A native of Forest Park, Illinois, Ms. Henry was recruited by the Chicago office of the War Production Board in 1943 and was sent to Washington, D.C. to be a secretary during WWII at the Agency’s Washington office. During the war, she was a volunteer at the Stage Door Canteen in the old Belasco Theatre on Lafayette Square. She worked her way through George Washington University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, was editor of the school newspaper, The Hatchet, vice-president of the Student Council, and was presented with the Ernie Pyle Award for Outstanding Journalism.
After World War II, she was an editorial assistant for Kiplinger Magazine and a news reporter for the Washington Bureau of the London Times. Later, she was a columnist and news reporter for the Northern Virginia Sun from 1958 to 1961 and was Public Relations Director for the United Givers Fund campaigns in Northern Virginia for six years. She researched two best-seller non-fiction books, The Woman in the White House, by Marianne Means and The Honeycomb, by Adela Rogers St. Johns.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Ms. Henry was a volunteer in Falls Church, Virginia community affairs and Democratic party politics. A lifelong Democrat, she managed political campaigns for national, State and Northern Virginia candidates. She testified before the Virginia legislature in 1963 to do away with the State’s poll tax as a requirement for voting, and worked to keep Virginia’s public schools open during Massive Resistance in 1965 after the Supreme Court’s desegregation decision. She was a charter member and in 1963-64 President of the Northern Virginia Woman’s Democratic Club and a member of the Falls Church Democratic Committee and National Women’s Democratic Club. She was a member of the Inaugural Committees for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. She canvassed votes for Adlai Stevenson (1952 and 1956), John F. Kennedy (1960), Lyndon B. Johnson (1964) and Hubert H. Humphrey (1968). Ms. Henry compiled the first complete voters’ list for the City of Falls Church, VA for use by campaign workers. She served on the groundbreaking committee of George Mason University. She was a founder and past president of the Falls Church Ki-Wives and a member of the Falls Church Woman’s Club and the Friends of the Falls Church Library.
Her marriage to Judge A. Burke Hertz ended in divorce. She is survived by two sons, A. Bradley Hertz of Salt Lake City, UT and Douglas Burke Hertz of Ukiah, CA, and a daughter, Lois Crane Hertz (Menderson) of Washington, D.C., as well as nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.