Henry Dembowski passed away peacefully on September 25, 2022, following a brief illness.
Henry was born in Lynn on July 29, 1939, to Helen (Osuchoski) and Walter Dembowski. He attended Lynn Classical High School and earned his bachelor and master’s degrees from Salem State University.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Claire (Caram) Dembowski; his son Stephen and his wife, Kristin, and their two children, Anna and Kate; his son David and his wife, Vanessa, and their three children, Max, Samantha, and Alexa.
Henry was brother to Walter (deceased) and his wife, Jane, and to Richard and his wife, Lois. He was brother-in-law to Elaine Dalton (deceased) and to Louis Caram (deceased) and his wife, Jean. Henry is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
Henry’s lively personality and zest for life attracted many people, young and old, who became part of his extended “family.” He never missed an opportunity to celebrate, whether it be hosting fundraising events, spectacular gala affairs, or visits to “Henry’s House” on Martha’s Vineyard.
He was a 50-year resident of Swampscott where he served on the School Committee and as a longtime Town Meeting member. After years of cheering his sons on the Big Blue football field, he also served many years as treasurer of the Gridiron Club.
Henry lived an extraordinary life as a dynamic educator. He inspired children and adults alike. His career started in 1960 as a teacher in Lynn, followed by over 25 years as teacher and principal at all levels in the Marblehead schools. His administrative leadership continued in roles as assistant superintendent in Wilmington, superintendent in Martha’s Vineyard, and superintendent in Pentucket regional system.
After 34 years of service, Henry retired from the public school system and continued his career as a professor in Salem State University’s Education Department. Beginning in 1994, he influenced teacher training as a consultant with Collins Education Associates, which gave him the opportunity to reinvigorate and introduce innovative strategies to educators in many East Coast states.
Throughout his life, Henry was both an advocate and participant in theater arts. He found his greatest joy in directing musical productions. While sharing his skills, he discovered and nurtured hidden talents of countless others. Henry was an actor, director, and producer of almost 50 theatrical productions at Magic Lantern Playhouse, Junior Aid Society Shows, Concord Players, North Shore Music Theater, Marblehead Little Theater, and many shows at the Marblehead High School, garnering appearances at the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Drama Festival.
He was a president of Marblehead Little Theater, president of the Marblehead Arts Association and a chairperson of the Marblehead Festival of Arts, president of Mass Alliance For Arts In Education and had the honor of a sabbatical year at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Both education and the arts were quite literally Henry’s stage, where his contributions made the world a more enjoyable place. In his never ending commitment to the arts, he and his wife, Claire, established The Dembowski Family Theatre Endowment Fund at his alma mater, Salem State University.
In lieu of flowers and to honor Henry, contributions may be made to this Endowment Fund. Please direct gifts to the Salem State University Foundation, 352 Lafayette St., Salem, MA 01970, or online at salemstate.edu/dembowski.
Visiting hours: A celebration of Henry’s life will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in the morning at Salem State University. For important details regarding attending this event in person or virtually, please visit salemstate.edu/dembowski.
Arrangements are by Cuffe-McGinn Funeral Home, 157 Maple St., Lynn.