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Henry Rodriguez

Obituary for Henry Rodriguez

January 1, 1930 - June 21, 2020
San Antonio, Texas | Age 90

Obituary

Henry Rodriguez loved challenge, adventure and people. Often they were one and the same. In the fall of 1949, at the age of 19, he spotted a striking Lasso on the city bus, a petite member of the Jefferson High School pep squad. Henry moved to a seat behind her and tried to get her attention. She ignored him. He tried again and failed. Enchanted by her voice and beauty, he watched her closely and noted the street where she deboarded. Henry went to a Jefferson football game to look for her. He described the mystery girl, an articulate brunette, to friends from Jefferson until he got a name. He poured through the phone book, looking for "Hernandez" residents near the street where she left the bus. He made a phone call. After considerable effort, he got the girl. On May 3, 1952, Henry and Blanche Rodriguez said "I do." They were married 47 years. On June 21, 2020, Father's Day, Henry met his Heavenly Father and reunited with Blanche. He was 90-years-old.

Henry served as a staff sergeant in the Korean War. He earned a bachelor's degree from Trinity University, a master's from Southwest Texas Teacher's College. He became a popular and influential math teacher at Hot Wells and Irving junior high schools. He persuaded students to leave gangs and attend college. Many credited him with changing their lives.

In an education career that spanned 31 years, Henry served as a teacher, counselor, vice principal, director of federal programs and Deputy Superintendent in San Antonio ISD. He served as principal of Forest Hills Elementary in Northside ISD. Under Henry's leadership, Forest HIlls reading specialists developed a ground-breaking, early intervention program to help students, whose reading scores ranked lowest in the district. After five years, nearly 90 percent of 5th grade students were reading at grade level. When he retired in 1985, the faculty held a banquet in his honor at the Wyndham Hotel grand ballroom. The evening featured a limousine ride to the hotel, a London broil dinner, mariachis and numerous gifts, including a vacation package to Las Vegas.

Based on the reading success at Forest Hills, Henry launched an educational consultant firm, EdCon, to help students in SAISD. Later, he started a real estate company, Terra Properties, and opened a small jewelry business.

Henry found adventure in politics, service and travel. He led successful campaigns for his late nephew, Richard Teniente, who served as City Councilman, mayor pro-tem and SAISD school board president. Henry also supported the campaigns of his niece, former SAISD trustee Alice Salas, and great nephew, former City Councilman Bobby Perez. Deeply knowledgeable and well-connected, Henry drew frequent calls from reporters, including Paul Thompson, the late Page 1 columnist for the San Antonio Express-News. The rough-and-tumble world of politics cost Henry a job and created financial hardship. He recovered, however, and became grateful for the adversity because it led to his most satisfying years in education.

Friends admired Henry's service. He was a member of the West Side Lions Club for 59 years, served as president in 1963 and enjoyed sponsoring numerous projects, especially the annual Christmas Party for children and providing eyeglasses for those in need. Henry chaired the Bexar County Civil Service Commission, served on the Bexar County Appraisal Review Board for six years and supported TREDDA, a nonprofit that helps retired teachers living below the poverty level.

Above all, Henry was devoted to serving Blanche, who suffered from crippling rheumatism for nearly 30 years. In spite of her illness, Henry regularly took her out for dinner and dancing. When she could no longer dance, Henry took Blanche to theater productions and her favorite restaurants. They often traveled to Las Vegas, Mexico and South Florida, where they visited their son Kenneth, daughter-in-law Judy, and their grandchildren, Joshua and Noah.

The 11th of 12 children born to Luis and Maria Rodriguez, Henry introduced his only child to sports at age 2 ½. He took Ken to football games, signed him up for YMCA baseball, explained the rules of basketball, tennis and golf and got him hooked on the writings of sports columnist Dan Cook. At the age of 9, Ken decided to become a sports writer. Thirty two years later, Ken was hired to join Cook and Buck Harvey as an Express-News sports columnist.

Ken's return to San Antonio in 2001 thrilled Henry. Judy's decision to pursue real estate thrilled him, too. He beamed at the birth of his granddaughter, Joy Noelle, in 2003. He attended the ball games, recitals and concerts of his grandchildren. He read their write-ups in the newspaper and watched their highlights on television and social media. He took pride in their academic, athletic and musical accomplishments. He was especially excited when Josh, Noah and Joy Noelle took him out to eat.

The memories are captured in countless images bound in scrapbooks and photo albums. One for which there is no image was expressed by Henry many years ago. A man of faith and conviction, the father told his son, "When I die, I want this written in my obituary: 'He forgave.'"

Henry is survived by his son, Kenneth, daughter-in-law Judy, grandchildren Joshua, Noah and Joy Noelle, younger brother David, sisters-in-law Irene H. Ruiz and Gloria H. Garza and numerous nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by his wife Blanche, his parents Luis and Maria Rodriguez, brothers Ralph, Jake, Louis, Arthur, Rudy and Bob, sisters Hortense Teniente, Mary Rodriguez, Rebecca Rodriguez and Olga Stark, and sisters-in-law Aurelia H. Giron, Argentina H. Elizondo and Lucy H. Shaw.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 9:30 am at Porter Loring Mortuary, 1101 McCullough Ave., on a day and time to be determined. Interment will follow at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery for immediate family. A reception for family and friends will be held at a place to be determined after burial. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to TREDDA or the Arthritis Foundation.

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San Antonio, TX 78212
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