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Dorothy  Nathaniel Shelbourne  Allen Henry
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Obituary for Dorothy Nathaniel Shelbourne Allen Henry

orothy Nathaniel Shelburne Allen Henry was raised in Louisville and Taylorsville Kentucky.  She was the second child of three in the family of Eva Shelburne Allen and Edgar Allen. After graduating from Central High School in Louisville, she enrolled in Kentucky State College in Frankfort, Kentucky where she served as bacillus of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.

In 1943, she met Warren Edward Henry from Plainfield, New Jersey at a special social event held for the colored army enlisted men stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and all of the colored college girls they could find from nearby campuses.  Dorothy and Warren were married in 1945 in Louisville. After completing a bachelor’s degree in 1946, Dorothy moved to Plainfield where she and Warren initially took up residence on Liberty Street.

Dorothy was first employed as a librarian at Camp Kilmer in Piscataway and later at the Weequahic Branch of Newark Public Library.  She entered the Plainfield Public School system in 1958 ,teaching third grade at Stillman School. In the late 60’s she became interested in promoting the open classroom and as result became a resource teacher, modeling lessons and classroom design throughout the district.

After earning a Master’s Degree in Administration From Rutger University in 1975, she was appointed Vice Principal of Maxson Jr. High School. In 1977, she proudly returned to Stillman school as principal.  Around 1980, she was re-assigned to be principal at Woodland School, a job and a school she loved unreservedly. She ended her career with the Plainfield Public Schools as principal of Evergreen School and retired in 1991.

Beginning in the early sixties, she became involved in the civil rights movement in Plainfield, becoming an active member of the NAACP, working closely with the then president, Reverend Allen.

Dorothy and Warren shared an panoramic appreciation of the arts. They both painted, gardened, cooked, and enjoyed jazz and classical music and opera at home and at concerts in New York City. Beginning as toddlers, their children were pushed through New York City Museums and concert halls.  In the last two decades of their marriage Dorothy and Warren went together on a series of travel adventures throughout the United States and Europe. Dorothy was an amazing quilter, seamstress and designer, making the majority of the elegant clothes she wore.

Upon retirement and the death of her husband Warren, both in 1991, she built a new and still active life.  She volunteered at the Salvation Army, helped to design awards programs for the inner circle at the YWCA and was a supporter/fundraiser for the Plainfield Public Library and their Annual ART show. Throughout the years she was honored for her leadership in the community by the NAACP, the National Council of Negro Women and  the City of Plainfield under the administration of Mayor Adrian Mapp.

She also became a member of the Dreams Investment Club, where she found a circle of new friends who became lifelong friends and family really. She was an animal lover and was daily seen walking one of her dogs up and down Hillside avenue.

In early 90’s she became a member at the Senior Citizen’s Council and became active in local politics serving as a ward representative for The New Democrats, walking her neighborhood with their candidates to enlist supporters. She also evaluated schools for their accreditation in New Jersey. She served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Plainfield Senior Citzens Center became re-engaged with her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.

She was pre-deceased by her  husband, Warren, beloved sister, Lois Allen Braxton, and beloved brother Edgar Lee Allen.  She is survived by her three children, Lois, Jo Allyn and Mark Henry, daughter-in-law Jennifer Jordahl and her adored three granddaughters, Kristina, Julia and Anna   Her life has been enriched by the presence of nieces, nephews and countless students, colleagues and friends.

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Previous Events





4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Crescent Ave. Presbyterian Church

716 Watchung Avenue
Plainfield, NJ 07060

The family will greet mourners and invite them to view Dorothy Henry's life through selected images.





6:10 PM
Crescent Ave. Presbyterian Church

716 Watchung Avenue
Plainfield, NJ 07060

Memorial service will begin promptly. As a scheduled program ends, the family asks mourners to share their memories of Dorothy. 7:30 PM The gathered congregation will complete the service with the vespers hymn, "Now the Day is Over." 7:40-8:30 Light refreshments will be served in the Crescent Avenue Church Guild Room.


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