Written by Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School
For nearly 60 years, Jeanette Henry was a pastor’s wife – the wife of Brother Jim Henry. The journey took them to churches in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Florida. Jeanette possessed a graceful strength in her role that earned her the love and admiration of the people they pastored, from the smallest churches in Mississippi to the largest church here in Orlando, Florida.
After high school, Jeanette attended Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, where she met Jim during her freshman year of 1957. They married on December 27, 1959, and shortly thereafter moved to New Orleans so Jim could attend New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She later graduated Cum Laude from Belmont University in 1969, all while caring for three children and her husband.
Jeanette always found a place to make her mark in ministry alongside Brother Jim’s pastoring. She worked with children, cooked thousands of meals, and led a large Sunday School class for adults during her years of ministry. She was probably best known for her love of teaching the Bible. The impact of her teaching lingers in the lives of hundreds who are still members at First Baptist Church Orlando or have scattered to other churches around the country.
I first met Jeanette in Spring 2003 when I was invited to come and visit The First Academy as a candidate to be the next Head of School. Tricia and I treasure the memory of our first evening together with Jeanette and Brother Jim over dinner. In our time, it was abundantly clear that they were a team. Brother Jim valued her insight and listened to her thoughtfully as she talked to us about the founding of The First Academy. She loved the school, the students, and the teachers. She wanted all that we attempted to be done with excellence and to the Glory of God. Her legacy at TFA will live on in the lives of our graduates as they serve around the world.
Jeanette Henry, 79, went home to be with her Lord and Savior in the early morning hours of February 4, 2019. In addition to her husband, Jeanette Henry is survived by her three children (Kate Campbell, Betsy de Armas, and Jim Henry); five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. The funeral service for Jeanette Henry will be at 1 pm on Saturday, February 16, in the Worship Center of First Baptist Orlando, followed by a reception. Visitation will be from 6-9 pm on Friday, February 15, at First Baptist’s Henry Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested you donate to The First Academy in Jeanette Henry’s honor. You can make a gift to The First Academy HERE.