Doris DeSantis Henry

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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Saluda– Doris “Dee” (DeSantis) Henry left this world at 93 years old in Saluda, North Carolina.  She was born September 19, 1929, to Joseph and Angeline DeSantis, in Solvay, NY.  She was the first-born daughter of a large Italian family from Campobasso and Naples, Italy.

She attended school in Solvay, NY, and met her late husband Edmund “Ed” Henry when Ed was a student at Syracuse University.  They married in 1950 and moved to Long Island, NY.  They had four children, Shelley, Robin, Mark, and Kim.  Dee and Ed returned to the Syracuse area and Ed was an English teacher at Jordan-Elbridge High School.  They moved into a big farmhouse with dogs, cats, and a barn for horses.  All the nieces and nephews who visited loved being on the farm.  Music was a part of their lives as well and the love of singing was passed on to the children and grandchildren.  Often on a trip to anywhere the car was filled with singing.  While raising her children, Dee managed to go to college at Auburn Community College and The State University College at Oswego.  She received her teaching certificate and became an extraordinary kindergarten teacher at Port Byron School for a number of years.

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Dee was an assistant Girl Scout leader with her good friend Natalie Sandstrom, under the leadership of her good friend Doje Marks. Every summer they would go on hiking trips to the Adirondack Mountains and climb the High Peaks.

When Ed took a position at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC in 1970, the family moved to Tryon, NC.  This was a bit of a culture shock, as Dee struggled to find the ingredients for her Italian meals.  Every visit North to see family became a shopping spree for Locutellli cheese and Columbus bread.

Dee taught in the Green Creek Elementary school, starting with kindergarten but also teaching other grades including special ed.  As an active member of the Tryon Arts Community, Dee taught Sumi-e watercolor, oil painting, and stained glass.  Later she taught at Saluda Elementary School and at the Meeting Place Senior Center.  Dee was instrumental in creating the Italian Club, where members taught each other the Italian language and culture.  An extraordinary Italian cook, Dee welcomed everyone to her dinner table, and no one left hungry.

For many summers, Dee vacationed at her camp on Cross Lake, NY where she reunited with her Solvay family and friends.  She insisted on driving a Volkswagen convertible, always with the top down.  You could count the number of her friends by the number of stars in the sky.

Dee is preceded in death by her parents, her ex-husband Ed, son Mark, sister Rose, and son-in-law Scott. Dee is survived by her aunts Josephine DeVoe and Corrine Luttmann; her siblings Nicholas DeSantis and Angela Simiele; daughters Shelley (Scott, deceased) Sperka of Tryon, NC, Robin (Nancy Ninteman) Henry of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Kim (Jeff Haslam) Henry of Columbus, NC; grandchildren, Whitney (Chris Smith) Henry, Adrian Sperka, Christine (Tim) Baka, Caitlin Sperka, Eddie (Emily Norton) Rustin, Molly (Scott) Ludden, Joseph Olsen and Vanessa (Arron) Olson; great-grandchildren Davis, Grey, Henry, Rocco, Ryker, Charlie, Alice, Cecelia, and Ivy.

A celebration in honor of Dee’s wonderfully long and eventful life will be held in the spring of 2024 in North Carolina. Memorials may be made to an art program of your choice, for example, Tryon Arts and Crafts. Condolences to the family can be made at

Sanders Funeral Home
Columbus, NC