When he last golfed in November, James C. Henry Jr. scored 85, two strokes below his age. Twice after he turned 80, Mr. Henry, heir to E.P. Henry Corp., hit holes-in-one.
As father, husband, son - and golfer - Mr. Henry set an example, said his son James C. Henry III.
"He was just that kind of guy that nothing really held him down," the son said.
Mr. Henry, 87, who had lived most of his life in South Jersey before moving to Naples, Fla., died on Monday, Nov. 25, just days after being diagnosed with aggressive lung and liver cancer. "He went out on his terms," said James Henry, who now operates the family business. "He would be the first one to say, 'I had a great life.' "
Mr. Henry and his family built a national reputation in the construction industry, providing concrete-block landscaping products. Known as hardscaping, the decorative and structural blocks are used for patios, retaining walls, fire pits, and other projects.
The company, founded in 1903 by Edward P. Henry in his Woodbury basement, has a history of donating materials and labor for veteran and 9/11 memorials. It recently provided materials to help restore the Statue of Liberty after Hurricane Sandy. It is one of the oldest continually run family businesses in the country, James Henry said, and celebrated its 100th year in 2003.
James Henry said the company maintains the values instituted by his ancestors: innovation, integrity, and respect. Those values, he said, also reflect who his father was.
John Poignard, who was hired in 1986 to run the company's Vineland manufacturing plant and who retired in 2006 as its chief operating officer, worked closely with Mr. Henry and described him as a friend, as well as a boss and mentor.
"I don't think too many people can say that about their boss," Mr. Poignard said.
Although they sometimes disagreed, Mr. Henry never held a grudge, Mr. Poignard said. Even when they battled, he said, his boss always said good night and good morning the next day.
Mr. Henry was born and raised in Woodbury and graduated from Woodbury High School in 1943. Mr. Henry then joined the Army Air Corps for two years. After his discharge, he attended Cornell University, where he graduated in 1949 with a degree in administrative engineering. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta.
After graduating from college, Mr. Henry joined his father in the family business, becoming president and chief executive officer in 1960. He retired in 1994.
Mr. Henry served as a director on a number of boards in New Jersey including the Underwood-Memorial Hospital in Woodbury (now Inspira Medical Center Woodbury), where he was a trustee and former chairman.
He was a member of the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce, and past president of the Woodbury Rotary Club and the Concrete Masonry Association of New Jersey.
He served on the planning board and borough council in Wenonah, where he lived for 20 years.
In retirement, James Henry recalled, Mr. Henry and his wife dined out five times a week, moved to Florida after vacationing there, and spent summers traveling.
"He had a great outlook on life and stayed active. I think that's what kept him alive," his son said.
Besides his son James, Mr. Henry is survived by his wife, Natalie; daughter, Carol Jean, son, A. Shafer Henry, and stepdaughter, Natalie Woodbury; seven grandchildren, and a sister.
Memorial services will be scheduled in both Naples and New Jersey. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Inspira Foundation Gloucester County, 509 N. Broad St., Woodbury, N.J. 08096.