In memory of
Arlene Henry Civic leader in Newark, directed South Ward Community Center Arlene Henry, 94, of Newark, N.J., passed away on March 12, 2019 at HarborChase Memory Care of Auburn Hills, Michigan. Arlene was born Dec. 7, 1924 in Albany, Ga., to the late Rosa Lillie and Jethro Jenkins. She married Nathaniel Johnson and in 1941 gave birth to their only child, Maryetta. On Aug. 28, 1953 a widowed Arlene settled in Newark, N.J. After various jobs she received training in social work, and began her dedicated service to the city of Newark. Her career spanned over 30 years as director of the South Ward Community Center through the United Community Corporation, and a researcher and senior activities director for the City of Newark. She joined countless organizations and advisory boards geared towards the betterment of the Newark community. In the '70s, she started tenants associations in apartment buildings throughout the city, stood up to slum lords and fought for adequate operating facilities as well as a quality living environment. She served as South Ward District leader alongside then Councilman Sharpe James. She spoke at several City Council meetings throughout the years bringing several issues and concerns to light. She received numerous awards for her commitment during her tenure. She reluctantly retired at the age of 82. Her health declined after retirement and she moved to Michigan to be cared for by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Fighting 'til the end, she eventually succumbed to complications from dementia. Arlene was predeceased by her daughter, Mary E. Penn; her siblings, Annie Lee Alford, L.J. and Shedrick Chaney. She is survived by her granddaughter, Jolanda West (Michael Kieda); grandson Deven West; granddaughter, Taylor West; sister Willie Belle Palmer, aunt Katherine Mitchell, and dozens of nieces and nephews. A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 2 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Winter Haven, 200 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven, FL. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.nj.com and on www.facebook.com/arlene.henry.545 .
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