Standing the Test of Time

With their 66th wedding anniversary on the horizon, one could say Bob and Barbara Henry of Conway define commitment. Married on June 10, 1951, Bob still remembers what Barbara was wearing when he first saw her walking across the Hendrix College campus in 1950. “I was a senior. She was a sophomore. I walked out and saw this lady with long, curly blonde hair and a red, plaid skirt. She was walking and carrying her books. I don’t think I’d ever spoken to her before,” says Bob.
However, she got his attention. He called her that same day, and she indicated she knew who he was. “I asked her what she was doing later that night. She said, ‘Nothing,’ so I asked if she wanted to go to a movie, and she said, ‘Yes,’” states Bob. When asked if she knew who he was, Barbara says with a smile, “Oh yes. He was very popular.”
Bob and Barbara dated the remainder of the year. Bob graduated from Hendrix in 1950 and relocated to Fayetteville to attend law school. Barbara remained at Hendrix, but eventually followed him to Fayetteville where she also completed her degree.
It takes little time in their presence to observe how Bob dotes on Barbara. They have a relaxed, happy air. Each knows the ending of the other’s story before it is told. Bob remembers their wedding day vividly, saying his favorite memory was, “Standing at the alter with the preacher and the best man and watching everyone turn and look for the bride. I wasn’t at all nervous.”
The Henrys have four children. Their oldest, Frank, lives across the street and has four children: Samantha, Alex, Cameron, and Brett. They have two more sons, Rob, Jr. and Cliff, whose children are Joseph and David. Margaret is the youngest, and the only girl, and she has a daughter, Julia. Margaret was born eight-and-a-half years after Frank. The Henrys also have two great-grandchildren: Linley and Ford.
Bob was born in August 1928 and was raised in Conway, only leaving for his years of law school. Barbara grew up in North Little Rock. Upon graduation from law school in Fayetteville, Bob and Barbara moved back to Conway. He immediately joined his father in law practice, his father having earned his own law license in 1922.
Bob also served Conway as city attorney for 20 years, beginning in 1955. He earned 50 dollars per month in this capacity, which he held while simultaneously practicing law alongside his father. According to Bob, the City of Conway’s population was about 4,000 at the time. When his father passed, Bob took the reins of his law office. He practices civil law in Conway still today; 2017 will mark his 64th year of practice. His son, Cliff, is now his law partner.
The Henrys have been active in the community, especially in their church, First United Methodist Church in Conway. “We belong to the United Methodist Church and have served in many capacities in the church,” says Barbara. Bob has served in areas ranging from head of the ministry board to working in the nursery, even keeping 13 children one memorable Sunday.
Barbara participated in the early days of Church Women United, which was first organized in the 1950s. “It was so much fun to meet women of other faiths,” she says. She has also been involved with the Conway Civic League, the Orpheus Club of Conway, and Conway United Methodist Women. Bob is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association, Federal District Court, Bar of the Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Bob and Barbara originally lived in a four-room house near Hendrix, but they built a home in 1959 where they still reside. When asked what led to the longevity of their relationship, Barbara responds, “We come from similar backgrounds. Our families were similar, and we were always active in the church. We believe it is important to raise your kids in church. We had many close friends at Hendrix. We both love classical music and some music from our younger days. We attend symphonic programs at UCA. When knees and falls and weak hearts slowed us down, we watched more television and usually liked or disliked the same shows.” She also credits remembering to show affection with one another.
When asked of their advice for younger couples, the Henrys share, “Live simply and try to enjoy many activities together. Try to be courteous to each other. Have couple friends but also have your own circle of friends. Include children in activities with parents and some without parents. The bottom line is to enjoy each other!”