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Henry Soper

Died: November 5, 2020

Henry was a Morse College classmate and a lad from the west. He died on November 5th, 2020 in Thousand Oaks, CA. Prior to his death, Henry had been a full faculty member of Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara for more than 25 years, teaching neuropsychology, a subject which fueled his intellectual passions. Henry’s two graduate degrees were both earned at UConn., a Master’s degree in 1972 and a doctorate in 1974, both in Psychology.

He is survived by his older brother Tom, his nephew and niece Michael Soper and Michelle Friedline and their spouses, all of whom live in Anchorage, Alaska.

His brother Tom writes of him: “His area of expertise was the frontal lobe and he wrote several books on that, along with a huge number of publications over his career. He also maintained a robust private practice, with emphasis on helping court-referred juveniles. He was an amazing brother to me and an amazing friend, teacher, mentor, doctor and teammate to countless people. And just a really nice guy.”

Others who have written of their relationship to Henry include Rob Van Leeuwen and his memories include the following: “I first met Henry at our 30th Class Reunion and what quickly drew us together was our service as U.S. Army officers in the Vietnam War. Henry served from 1966 to 1968, was a 1st Lieutenant, executive officer of a combat engineering company, and was awarded the Bronze Star. During our friendship since then, I found Henry to be loyal, incredibly kind and dedicated to the students he could help to succeed, and passionate about our country, his work, and his vacations in wilderness areas. In 2007 he sent me: One Soldier’s Story, his unvarnished account of coming home from Vietnam. It is rough but contains one dream all Vietnam veterans may readily share: ‘I had dreamed of coming home to cold Connecticut, getting into my car, driving to warm Florida, buying a hamburger and a milkshake, and walking to the beach.’”

I never knew Henry well, but what I knew of him was this: plain speaking, a young man with a ready smile and an empathic warmth – a classmate who made it his business to seek out others in the Morse dining hall who might be alone or sitting in a small group – his was a welcoming and engaging presence.

Others have said:

“One of the things I will always remember about him is how at Christmas time, he would always send huge containers of holiday cookies (usually dropping them off in person) to the staff in the administrative offices of Fielding. None of the other faculty routinely did anything like that to show their appreciation of us, but he always did so without fail.”

“Met Henry playing softball, eating pizza & having a beer – or two. At his remembrance we were all asked to think of a word describing Henry. Mine was ‘mark.’ He made an indelible mark on everyone he knew, affecting their families, lives, and futures with a combination of kindness and a firm push when needed. We all remember his Christmas parties – inclusive events that made children feel a part of an adult world. Much love to Henry for being in our lives and making us a part of his family and to Tom for bringing us together to celebrate those marks he left on all of us.”

“My kids and I have known Henry for over 30 years as he and my husband were neuropsychologists and worked together for many years. My kids called him Uncle Henry and they loved it when he visited as he always brought the best gift for each individual child and our times together were spent laughing and eating. When my husband died, Henry drove ‘all the way’ from California to help me through my husband’s stuff. He took my kids and me out to dinner and let me drive his Hummer! Our children all took turns visiting him in California in the last few years. He will be greatly missed by us all.”

Andrew Berkman