Dorothy Henry, a longtime resident of Greenwich, Conn., and Edgartown, died Oct. 9. She was 83.
Mrs. Henry was born on June 15, 1930 to Howard Deering Johnson and his wife, Dorothy. Her father was the founder of the restaurant chain Howard Johnson’s, recognized as the largest restaurant chain in the world throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Mr. Johnson started the business with single soda fountain in 1925.
Mrs. Henry was educated at the Dana Hall School in Wellesley, before continuing on to Briarcliffe Junior College and the New York School of Interior Design. Mrs. Henry’s greatest passion was her family. Her two sons, William and Joshua, were her greatest sources of pride and devotion. Throughout her life she served on many boards and committees, including the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Greenwich and the board of Tabor Academy. She also served as the director of the Howard Johnson Foundation for many years.
She loved to socialize and was a hostess without equal. She will be remembered as a woman who held her door open for friends and family, as she delighted in bringing people together. She enjoyed memberships of the Jupiter Island Club, the Field Club of Greenwich, the Colony Club of New York city, and perhaps her favorite, the Edgartown Yacht Club, where she organized dances and was formerly the head of senior entertainment and a member of the house committee.
Mrs. Henry was an avid traveler throughout her life, visiting countless countries while delighting in taking her growing family of children and grandchildren with her. Though a resident of Greenwich, she shared a deep love for Martha’s Vineyard, where she summered for over 50 years. She was a lover of culture, rare antiques and beautiful interiors, with her taste greatly influenced by her travels and studies. Her attention to detail, gracious hospitality and devotion to style will be her legacy for many years to come.
Mrs. Henry was deeply beloved and is survived by her brother, Howard Brennan Johnson and his family; her two sons, William and Joshua; her daughters in law, Olivia and Christine; her six grandchildren and one great-grandchild, although many more thought of Dottie as family as well.
A private graveside service for family will be held in Milton in the coming week. A memorial gathering is scheduled for next summer in Edgartown.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Henry had wished for donations to be made in her memory to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of the donor’s choice.
She was a true force of nature and the very definition of what a matriarch should be. She will be terribly missed.