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March 23, 1941 – April 1, 2014

Karl A. Henry, a former Hamburg mayor, Erie County legislator and retired commissioner of the state Workers’ Compensation Board, died unexpectedly Tuesday in his Town of Tonawanda home. He was 73.

Mr. Henry and his wife, Donna, had just returned from celebrating his birthday with friends in Fort Myers, Fla..

Born in Rochester, he graduated from Penn Yan High School and attended Monroe Community College. In 1960, he joined the Army and served as a private first class, based in South Korea from 1960 to 1963. Following his tour of duty, Mr. Henry channeled his gift in sales by joining Merck, Durham Medical Recruiting and the Dutch pharmaceutical firm, Organon Inc.

He became a member of American Legion Troop I Post 665 and the Young Republicans. Mr. Henry also was a reserve deputy for the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and a founder of Hamburgh Holidays.

In 1974, Mr. Henry was elected to the Hamburg Village Board. He was elected to two terms as mayor of the village, in 1977 and 1980.

Among his accomplishments were initiating New York state’s first mandatory curbside recycling program, rebuilding the village pool on Torry Drive and development of the Ravenwood Light Industrial Park.

When County Legislator Marie Richardson resigned to become deputy Erie County Executive in the Ed Rutkowski administration, Mr. Henry took her place. He worked to establish the Erie County Community Coordinating Council on Children and Families, and to end smoking in county offices and workplaces.

Gov. George Pataki appointed him commissioner of the Workers’ Compensation Board in 1995.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Henry is survived by a daughter, Karoline; a stepdaughter, Kelly McCartney; a stepson, Michael McCartney; a sister, Karole Jensen; and five grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Joseph-University Catholic Church, 3269 Main St., Buffalo.