Henry Julius Stern, a lifetime resident of Opelika, Alabama, passed away on Thursday July 17th, 2014, at East Alabama Medical Center. He was 82 years of age. Henry was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Roslyn Brock Stern. He is survived by his daughter, Virginia (Ginger), his son, J, one sister, Lora (Dean) Coleman, his nieces, Julie (Rick) Golson, Linda (Mark) Epstein, Sandi (Mark) Cross and Dee (Harold) Boatright and many beloved relatives.
Henry was born on September 4, 1931, to Arnold and Hedwig Stern in Westheim, Germany. On June 16, 1937, at the urging of his uncle, Julius and aunt, Amelia Hagedorn, Henry, his sister, Lora, his mother, father, uncle and grandmother, left Hamburg, Germany, on the S.S. Washington, the last ship of Jews escaping the Nazi moratorium on Jews leaving Germany. The family arrived in Opelika to a city wide welcome.
Henry was educated in the Opelika School System, attended Auburn University, served in the United States Navy, and returned to Opelika where he met and married, Roslyn Brock. He soon became a partner in Hollingsworth, Norman and Stern, an Opelika clothing store. Later was a real estate agent and developer for several years. Following this, he was appointed Director of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce in 1977, and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1988.
Henry served on numerous boards and committees during his lifetime. He was a lifelong member of the Opelika Kiwanis Club and the Museum of East Alabama. He was also President of the Board of Directors of the East Alabama Food Bank and was Chairman of the United Way. In 2003 he was appointed by Governor Don Siegleman, to the Alabama Holocaust Commission serving until 2009. Henry’s story was included in the “Darkness into Life”, Alabama Holocaust Survivors through Photographs and Art Traveling Exhibit. Henry was often asked to speak to students in the Opelika and Auburn school systems to share his story and educate students on the Holocaust.
Henry was considered by many to be “Mr. Opelika”. His vast collection of Opelika memorabilia, photographs, and writings chronicled nearly 75 years of Opelika’s history. He loved his city, his family and his many friends.
Visitation was Sunday, July 20, 2014, from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home.
Funeral services were Monday, July 21, 2014, at 2:00 P.M. AT Jeffcoat-Trant Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the East Alabama Food Bank, 375 Industrial Drive, Auburn, Alabama, 36832.
Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home and Crematory will be directing.