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The City of Fort Wayne Bids Farewell to Mayor Tom Henry

Photo Supplied/City of Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind.–The life of the late Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry was celebrated on Friday. His funeral was at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Fort Wayne.

Henry died on March 28 at the age of 72. In February, Henry announced that he had been diagnosed with late-stage stomach cancer. He also said the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes and other organs.

Speaking on Henry’s behalf Friday was his best friend Steve Mcelhoe. Mcelhoe made the crowd laugh with several stories about Henry.

“Tom and I both loved to golf, but neither of us were any good. I suggested that we take lessons from a golf pro. After only three lessons, the pro told us that he had a plan. He wanted us to lay off golf for six months and then quit,” said Mcelhoe.

Mcelhoe said he and Henry both talked about things every man needs to know before marriage.

“We developed a short, but meaningful list. Never forget her birthday or her anniversary and always be a good listener. With that being said, Tom obviously wasn’t listening when he decided to buy Cindy a vacuum cleaner for her birthday. ‘It’s the gift that keeps on giving’ he told her.I would bring that story up to him just to remind him about the importance of listening,” said Mcelhoe. That comment left the crowd giggling.

Mcelhoe refers to Henry as “the people’s mayor.” He remembers a time when a little girl asked Henry if he was a rich man.

“Tom looked at the young lady and said ‘Yes honey. I am rich, but not with money. I am rich because I have a wife, children, and family who love me and I love them. I am rich because I live in the best city in the best country in the world,” said Mcelhoe.

Mcelhoe was on the opposite side of Henry politically. Mcelhoe was a Republican. Henry was a Democrat.

“I was recently told by someone that only Democrats get into heaven. ‘Hey Tom. Please put a good word in for me with St. Peter. I’m really hoping he’s a bipartisan gatekeeper,” said Mcelhoe as he looked up towards the sky.

Henry was posthumously awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash, which is the highest civilian honor in Indiana bestowed by the Governor. Henry’s daughter, Beth, and son, Ben, accepted the award on his behalf.

Henry served as mayor of Fort Wayne for five terms, becoming the city’s longest-serving mayor.

Prior to his mayorship, Henry served as president and CEO of the Gallant Group, an insurance agency specializing in healthcare consulting.

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