Henry Johnston Allison, Jr.
Henry Johnston Allison, Jr., of Charlotte, died on June 2, 2011. He was 96. A visitation will be held at Sharon Towers, 5100 Sharon Road, on Monday, June 6, from 3:00 – 4:00 PM.
Born and raised in Charlotte, Henry attended Central High School. He loved the outdoors and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He studied Chemical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his PhD at the Pulp and Paper Institute in Appleton, Wisconsin. After graduation, he joined Mead Paper Company. During his graduate school years, he met and courted Martha "Marty" Johnson, whom he married on June 10, 1941. An inseparable couple, they were best friends and happily married for 67 years.
Early in World War II, Henry joined the Chemical Warfare Service and moved to Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. After the war, he joined Container Corporation of America in Chicago. In 1953 he relocated his wife and three children to Fernandina Beach, Florida and took on a lead role in Container's pulp and paper plant, ultimately rising to become the plant's technical director. He was a devoted father, an avid gardener, and a middling golfer. He was active in the First Presbyterian Church.
In 1972, Henry and Marty returned to Charlotte, where he joined his brother James Allison in the management of Allison-Erwin Company, a wholesale distributor with branches across the Southeast. Henry and Marty enjoyed their home, where he lovingly tended his vegetable garden and grew figs and blueberries. He turned his scientific mind to baking bread and English muffins and experimenting with wine making. He was active in Rotary Club and Covenant Presbyterian Church. During these years he traveled the world with his devoted wife. They were particularly excited to be among the first Americans to journey to the newly-opened China. They loved taking Elderhostel trips, combining their passion for learning and adventure. They often visited their children and grandchildren, and hosted them on vacations to the mountains, the beach, and a Colorado dude ranch. His was greatly loved by his eight grandchildren, who respected his generosity, self-deprecating sense of humor, and strong encouragement and support for their educations.
In 2003, he and Marty moved to Sharon Towers, a Presbyterian retirement community where he had served as a board member. They continued to travel to visit family and friends, and he proudly grew tomatoes in a small garden plot. In Marty's later years, he stayed at her side constantly, completely devoting his life to her care. Her passing in 2007 was the saddest day of his life. In recent years, he relinquished some of his fierce independence and accepted from others a measure of the love and care he had showered on family and friends throughout his life. He is survived by his three children and eight grandchildren.