A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
EUGENE HENELY. The death of Eugene Henely on September 11, 1928, closed a career of remarkable service as an Iowa educator. Mr. Henely had been a school superintendent for thirty-eight years, all of this time being divided among
just three localities. For twenty-three years before his death he had been superintendent of the Grinnell public schools, and that city and community in particular appreciate his unusual qualities as a teacher and man. He was a native of Iowa, born near Monticello December 15, 1867, and passed away in his sixty-first year. He was a son of Michael and Mary Jane(Kirkley)Henely, both natives of Ohio. His parents came to Iowa in a covered wagon in 1853 and settled near Monticello, where his father devoted the rest of his life to farming. Michael Henely died in 1902 and his wife in 1918. One of their sons is William E. Henely, of Clarion, Iowa, and another is Dr. Edmund Henely, of Nora Springs, Iowa.
Eugene Henely grew up on a farm, attended the grade and high schools of Monticello, and in 1890 was gradutated from the Iowa State College at Ames. The first community to which he was called as head of the schools was Oxford,
Iowa, where he remained nine years. For six years he was superintendent of schools of Brooklyn, Iowa, and in 1905 became superintendent at Grinnell. He gave Grinnell schools an enviable standing among the school systems of the state. As a result of his work Grinnell has a reputation for its public school system as well as for its splendid college, and is an all around educational center. As a teacher it is said that no slightest detail was ever too small to be missed or slighted by Mr. Henely. Each pupil was known and called by name, and he felt a deep interest in his or her welfare not only in school days but through later years. His graduates of long ago still consulted him upon their plans and work. Some of the most splendid tributes paid him during his illness and since his death came from former students. He served in various capacities in the State Teachers Association and in other educational organizations. He was an active member of the Methodist Church for twenty-eight years, was long identified with the Men's Bible Class of the church at Grinnell, and was steward of the church and a consistent member of the Sunday School. Fraternally he was a member of the Masonic fraternity, B. P. O. Elks, Independent Order of the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen of America, and was a member of the Kiwanis Club and the Fortnightly Club. He was for twenty years a member of the city library board, and a member of the Social Service League Board from the time of its organization.
Among other organizations that paid tribute to his life of service one was
the Board of Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, of which he
was one of the founders. The board of control said: "Eugene Henely's death
came as a distinct shock to all of us. While his health had not been good
for some time there was no thought of anything but his ultimate recovery. He
left a unique and an enviable record of service. For twenty-three years he
served his community, and the splendid school system of Grinnell is a monument
to his ability as an organizer and an educator as well as to his tireless
energy and industry.
"He served the Iowa High School Athletic Association as a member of the Board of Control for over twenty years, and the scope and influence of this organization is due in a very large measure to his sound sense, his good judgment
and his clear vision. His interest in the affairs of the association was unflagging and the amount of time and labor he gave to it was enormous. He was eminently fair, and he abhorred trickery. He was outspoken in his opinions, he truckled to no one. He could have sharp differences but he bore no grudges. There was no rancor in his makeup."
Superintendent Henely married, in 1892, Miss Louise Miller, who was born near North Liberty in Johnson County, Iowa, June 9, 1872. Her father, Alexander James Miller, was a native of Pennsylvania, was brought to Iowa by his parents in the early 1850s, and the family has lived in Johnson County for over three-quarters of a century. Her father gave his life to farming and stock raising and later became editor and publisher of the Oxford Journal. He died in
1910. He married Mary Louise McColm, of Baltimore, Maryland, who died in 1925. Of their seven children four are now living: Jesse A. Miller, an attorney and former district judge at Des Moines; Mrs. Henely; Oliver H. an attorney at Des Moines; and Mrs. Laura Miller Metcalf, at Hawarden, Iowa.
Superintendent Henely is survived by Mrs. Henely and two daughters: Inez Louise, of Grinnell, and Mrs. Margaret Henely Black, of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, and one grandson, Eugene Charlton Black.
A very fine and lasting tribute to Professor Henely has been erected on the
local high school campus by the State Board of Athletic Control in the form
of a bronze plaque on a native granite boulder with the following inscription:
Member Board of Control
Iowa High School
*Check your facts, don't know how accurate.
1860 census - Michael Henely born in Ireland
1870 census - Michael Henel born in Ireland
1880 census - Michael Henley born in Ireland
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