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Yale 62

Henry Clay Childs

Henry died on 13 May 2021 in Fairhope, Alabama of multiple medical complications. The second son of Thomas Warren Childs and Isabel Maud née Lockward, he was born in New York City on 10 June 1941. The later war years were spent at his grandmother’s in Bermuda, followed by a return to New York City. Henry attended the St. Bernard’s School, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Yale University, where he studied Japanese and Chinese, was a member of a notable secret society, and traveled with the Whiffenpoofs. Following graduation in 1962, he spent several years in Japan and Southeast Asia. He returned to the United States and lived for many years in Washington, Connecticut, where he taught at the Gunnery School. In the late 1990s he became peripatetic and moved frequently across America, residing briefly in Georgia, California, Arizona, Kentucky, Virginia, and finally settling in Fairhope, Alabama.

Henry was an enthusiastic athlete playing varsity soccer at Yale and throughout his life, he was a devotee of golf. A connoisseur of fine wines and fine food, he became a sensitive photographer and published two books, Connecticut’s Litchfield County (1993) and Gardens and Graveyards of the Southeastern Seaboard, A Photographic Journey (1994), the areas of the country he loved most. He also self-published several novels. Henry was a sensitive observer of humanity and nature with a strong touch of mysticism. In our 50th Reunion class book he included a long, metaphysical essay which I commend. On another occasion he wrote the following:

“Recently completing six novels – all of which are available at Amazon – I have delved deeply into the sphere of natural phenomena. Whether in the Amazon rain forest or the Adirondacks, the presence of magic and mysterious happenings helps to determine the true understanding of where we need to be. Light moments and laughter can be a fine catalyst to the chemistry that leads to final revelations and resolution of challenges, and I try to leaven each story with at least a modicum of joy. My most recent story prominently includes the devil as an observer of the Human Condition and gives us all insight that otherwise would be difficult to describe. The constant turmoil between good and evil and indifference can be more clearly defined with the devil himself front and center.”

He is survived by his wife, Helen Mercier Childs, his two brothers and a nephew, two nieces and several grand nephews and nieces

Eleven of Henry’s books are available on Amazon here.

– John Harger Stewart