Local News

Fire Kills Raleigh Pastor, Injures Wife; Congregation Mourns

Posted August 7, 2006

— Raleigh fire investigators are working to determine what happened to cause a fire that killed a Raleigh pastor and injured his wife.

At about 6 a.m. Sunday, firefighters responded to a call at

544 Rose Lane

. A neighbor discovered the fire when he went to investigate after hearing a barking dog.

Investigators said the fire started near the garage of the house and spread toward the bedroom. A wall collapsed on Robert Edward Henry, 69, trapping him inside. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His wife, Helen Henry, 74, was able to escape the fire. She was transported to WakeMed with second-degree burns on her face and neck, and was later transported to the Burn Center at UNC Hospitals, where she was listed in critical condition Sunday afternoon.

The Henrys had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Henry leaves behind two children, six grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

For nearly 20 years, Robert Henry had been a bishop and a pastor at Gethsemane True Vine Holiness Church on East Martin Street in Raleigh, family members said. Family members said Henry did more than just preach God's love. He showed it.

"There ain't nothing either one wouldn't do for you," said Willie Deboise, the Henrys' son-in-law. "You know, both of them would pray for you."

Services for Sunday were canceled as church members coped with the loss. Some gathered at the couple's home to comfort one another and pray for the Henry family.

"If you needed help with anything, anything, he was always there," said church member Brenda Ragland.

Others took comfort in how Henry lived his life.

"That gave consolation to know that the work he done naturally, and spiritually -- he's pleased God," said Henry's cousin-in-law. "And he can say within himself, 'I'm ready to go.'"

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