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John T. McHenry

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Published in May 2024

John Timothy McHenry, 74, passed away peacefully at home in Somersworth, NH, on May 6, 2024, after a courageous, five-year battle with ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease.)

It was a life well lived. Born in Atlanta, GA, he moved with his family to Hampton, NH when he was 10 years old. He attended Winnacunnet High School where he played the sousaphone and was the drum major in the marching band. He was a member of the school’s first soccer team in 1964-1966.

He studied liberal arts at Boston University and photography and mass communications at Emerson College. With his beautiful, resonant voice, he hosted a late-night classical music radio program at the Emerson’s college radio station, WERS.

He lived in the NH Seacoast area most of his life but spent a couple of years in Ashland, Oregon and Newburyport, MA. He also lived happily in a log home, surrounded by nature, on Spectacle Pond in Enfield, NH for 17 years.

Throughout his life, he held a variety of interesting jobs, including staff photographer at the Hampton Union newspaper. As a mainframe computer operator, he had the opportunity to live and work in Prague helping their national bank upgrade their computer systems. He also ran computers for Bell Atlantic, NYNEX and Verizon.

After retiring from the computer world, he enjoyed almost 20 years as a sales associate at Home Depot. His love of people, friendly demeanor and great customer service skills made him one of their top salesmen in the region.

Music was one of his greatest passions, especially the Blues. Going by the stage name, “John T,” he played electric bass and guitar in several local bands. He loved performing and could frequently be heard at blues jams and open mic nights around the Seacoast and at Jesse’s in Lebanon, NH. He recorded a few songs in his son’s basement studio which can be viewed on YouTube. ( He also loved to sing at Karaoke events and could cover a Frank Sinatra song like nobody else! If he wasn’t on stage performing, he was on the dance floor and was a fun and lively dance partner!

A devoted fan of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, John could be heard outside the house, cheering and yelling loudly as he passionately watched the game on TV. He also enjoyed rooting for the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.

His other passion was motorcycles. He proudly rode around Portsmouth on his 1979 Vespa. Later, his 1978, air-cooled, BMW R-100S motorcycle gave him a sense of freedom and peace as he cruised around the Upper Valley of NH.

An avid reader, he knew a little about a lot; his kids called him “Dictionary Dad.” He especially enjoyed learning about military history. Around the house, he was known as “Mr. Fix-It” and could be counted on to fix just about anything. He loved cats. He savored chocolate and well-made coleslaw, but turned away from mushrooms or sushi. He cried at movies. He could cook, a little; “Scary Chicken” and pressure-cooked artichokes were his specialties.

But his greatest loves were his two children, James and Claire. Throughout their lives, he remained devoted to their wellbeing and happiness. And during his last years, he was delighted to become a grandfather to a beautiful little girl, Frances (Frankie.)

Words to describe John T are kind hearted, sentimental, loyal, funny, honest, intelligent, loving, generous, talented and even stubborn (at times!) With his sparkling blue eyes, trademark beard and ponytail, warm bear hugs, and bright smile, he made the world a better place.

For 31 years, John was a loving husband and friend to Laurel Denison. He is also survived by his son, James McHenry (Alex Canning); his daughter, Claire McHenry (Ryan Harrison); his granddaughter, Frankie; his brothers Steve (Diane) and Joe (Pamela) McHenry; his sister, Mary McHenry; a sister-in-law, Patricia McHenry, as well as four nieces and nephews. John was predeceased by his parents, Robert W. and Frances (Boatner) McHenry, and his oldest brother, Robert McHenry, Jr.

Living with ALS was not easy. John was a brave warrior who endured it with grace and dignity, never complaining and always expressing his love and gratitude to those who cared for him.

His family is eternally grateful, and gives special thanks, to the amazing hospice team at Wentworth Homecare & Hospice for the loving, professional care they provided. Also, sincere thanks to Jennifer Lynn, from Extended Family, who took great care of John and helped Laurel with many household chores. Most of all, the family wants to thank Ron Hoffman and his non-profit foundation, Compassionate Care ALS (CCALS) in Falmouth, MA, for their generous support in providing whatever was needed to make life easier; i.e., a lift recliner, wheelchair, bath bench, and so many other devices, large and small, that helped with communication, food preparation, and provided comfort and safety to him. John’s nephew, Luke Duvall is a member of the CCALS team and he continually added extra, loving support. John and Laurel couldn’t have gotten through the experience as well as they did without the support of CCALS.

To honor John, donations can be made to CCALS so they may continue to do their work and help other people living with ALS.


Be at peace now, John T. You will be fondly remembered and deeply missed. You always sent your loved ones off with these caring and loving words, and now we say them to you: “Be safe. Be happy.”

A celebration of John’s life will be held on Saturday, July 20th, from 1-5 pm, at the Stone Church, 5 Granite St., Newmarket, NH. Feel free to bring a favorite photo or memory to share as we honor this wonderful man.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John T. McHenry, please visit our flower store.

Celebration of Life
Stone Church
Saturday, July 20, 2024
1:00 – 5:00 pm (Eastern time)