James Douglas Henry, Jr. died peacefully at home in Gainesville on November 22, 2020. J.D., as he was known to his many friends, was born in Live Oak, Florida on June 21, 1928. He was a fifth generation descendant of one of Alachua County’s early pioneering families, beginning with Amelia Haile in the 1850s. J.D. graduated from The Bolles School, Jacksonville, Florida and served in the United States Navy Air Corps Reserve. He attended Emory University, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He transferred to Florida State University as a member of the first post-war co-educational class that transitioned the Florida State College for Women to Florida State University. He earned a degree in Economics from FSU and served as a founder and first president of the FSU ATO chapter. He later served for fifteen years as chairman of the University of Florida ATO House Corporation.
J.D. married Billie Barbara Bryant of Atlanta, Georgia in 1950 and they settled in Tampa, Florida. J.D. was sales representative for Medical Equipment in Tampa until 1955, when the family, now including two young daughters, moved to Gainesville. In Gainesville J.D. founded Medical Equipment Sales, Inc. where he served as chairman until his retirement. Upon his retirement he arranged for the company to become one hundred percent employee owned. J.D. was a founding director of what is now the Wells Fargo branch of Gainesville, and was owner of Radio Telephone Company of Daytona, Florida, a precursor of cellular telephone service. J.D. was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville for over sixty years, and held the longest membership of the Gainesville Golf and Country Club. He also served on the board of Haile Homestead for fifteen years.
The family wishes to thank the caregivers at Haven Hospice and UF Health for their kindness and support. J.D. was pre-deceased by his wife, Billie Barbara Bryant, and his daughter Elise Henry Gresham (Steve). He is survived by his daughter Patricia Henry Young (Martin); two grandchildren, Bryant McCaa Young and Alex McCaa Young; and beloved godson George Wilder Ruffin, Sr. (Laura).
Services will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, those who wish are asked to donate to the Historic Haile Homestead 4941 SW 91st Terrace Suite 101 Gainesville, FL 32608 OR Haven Hospice 4200 NW 90th Blvd Gainesville, FL 32606, online at www.beyourhaven.org. Arrangements are in the care of MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES 311 S. Main Street Gainesville, FL 32601 (352) 376-5361 www.milamfh.com