Polk loses longtime public servant Henry Huntsinger

Published 5:42 pm Monday, December 12, 2011

Henry Huntsinger, a notable public figure in Polk County, died Friday, Dec. 9 at the age of 92.

Huntsinger was a Polk County commissioner for 12 years, beginning in 1982 when he served along with Earl Foy and Ted Owens on the last three-member board of commissioners.

“Henry was interested in doing what was best for the county,” Owens said. “He was good to work with and he sincerely wanted to help people.”

Henry Huntsinger

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Owens, who is currently a county commissioner, said he remembers one anecdote about Huntsinger that happened when Huntsinger was chair of the county board of commissioners and the courthouse had not yet been renovated.

“A judge threatened to bring Henry to court if he didn’t get rid of the bats in the courtroom,” Owens said.

Geoff Tennant, currently the chair of the Polk County Board of Education, also served as a county commissioner with Huntsinger in the 1980s.

“Working with Henry was a very interesting experience,” Tennant said. “My approach to problems was based on my academic training; Henry came at them from life experience. I learned a great deal about  the practical world of political life from Henry.”

Tennant described Huntsinger as an “old-school” politician who did a lot of things for a lot of people in Polk County.

“I had a great deal of respect for Henry, although we didn’t always agree,” Tennant said. “Working with him made me maybe a little wiser. I valued the time I spent with him.”

Born in Polk County, Huntsinger was the son of the late V. H. and Maude Rowe Huntsinger. He graduated from Mill Spring High School and served in World War II in the U.S. Army. He worked for the North Carolina State Highway Department, retiring as a supervisor in l982.

Huntsinger was a founding member of the Mill Spring Fire Department and a member of the VFW Post #9116. He served on the Polk County Burial Squad for many years. He was also a school board member and served on the Polk County Social Service board, as well as the board of directors for Tryon Federal Bank.

A member of the Jeff L. Nelson Masonic Lodge #605, Huntsinger was also a lifelong member of Mill Spring First Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon longer than anyone else to date.

Funeral services were held Sunday, Dec. 11. Burial was in the Mill Spring First Baptist Church cemetery, with military rites by the Polk County Burial Squad. For more information see the obituary on page 4.