Mandred Thomas Henry, 73, of Edgartown, a member of Grace Episcopal Church, Vineyard Haven, and previously a longtime resident of Hartford, Conn. and Worcester died surrounded by his family May 5 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

He was born April 6, 1934 in Hartford, Conn. to Mandred Floyd Henry and Corrinne E. Taylor Henry.

Mandred grew up in Hartford, Conn. as a member of St. Monica's Episcopal Church. He graduated from Weaver High School in 1953 and was awarded a full football scholarship to attend the University of Connecticut at Storrs. At UConn, he majored in business administration and became a member of Beta Sigma Fraternity.

Mandred worked at the Hartford Redevelopment Agency during the time of the city's first urban renewal program. He very much enjoyed helping people in need, including the homeless.   

He was active in the National Association of the Study of Negro Life and History, a historical organization founded by Carter G. Woodon. During this time, he was a volunteer reader at the Oak Hill School for the Blind.

A visit to the Vineyard during college began a lifelong love of the Island, where he later enjoyed fishing with his dad and spending summers with all of his children.

He moved to the Vineyard when he retired after 27 years with Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Worcester. He became an avid golfer and fisherman.

Mandred was a seventh-generation descendant of Venture Smith, who was captured in the 1700s as a slave in New Guinea, and who eventually bought his freedom and his family's freedom and owned several hundred acres of land on the Connecticut River when he died in 1805.

Although Mandred has fought racial inequality all his life, his leadership role began to flourish on the Vineyard as he was elected president of the Vineyard chapter of the NAACP for 12 years, served as a Martha's Vineyard Hospice volunteer and board member, and served as a vestry member and junior warden of Grace Episcopal Church.

His best friend Charles J. Ogletree Jr. once wrote, "To me, Mandred Henry is Mr. Martha's Vineyard. From the time he arrived on this Island he has worked hard to increase racial harmony and understanding, and to make sure that equality of opportunity and fairness are applied to all people. He has made it his life's mission to promote good relationships between people of all diverse ethnicities. Mandred loves and cares for people."

Survivors include his wife, Laurie Perry Henry; his sister Coralyn Henry Jackson and her husband Jesse of Hartford, Conn.; a son by his first wife, Lorraine Waters Henry, Mandred Thomas Henry 2nd of Falmouth; his children by his second wife, Lilo Weiss Henry: a daughter, Susi Ryan and her husband Robert of Worcester, a daughter, Angi Perron and her husband Gary of Milford, N.H., a daughter, Corinne Henry of Providence, R.I. and a son, Floyd Henry of Providence, R.I.; grandchildren Gina Ryan, Beatrice Perron, Christian Perron, Mandred Tyler Henry, Jazz Jordan Henry, Amber Henry, Evan Perron, and Hanna Perron; one great-grandchild, Jasir Robert Ryan Lee; several nieces and nephews; and his two best friends, Otis William Wade and Charles J. Ogletree Jr.

Calling hours will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. Funeral services will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Contributions may be made in his name to the Vineyard chapter of the NAACP or the Martha's Vineyard Hospital Building Fund. Notes of expression to the family may be left at