Henson, Long-time Friend of the School, Passes Away

Dr. Donald L. Henson, Sr. passed away on Saturday, September 17 at the age of 88 after an extended illness.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry in 1951, Dr. Henson moved to Kinston, NC and opened his own dental office. During that time he took courses in pediatric dentistry and in 1957 transitioned his practice to be a pediatric office and became known for his kindness, love and respect for his young patients. Dr. Henson also provided low-fee care for many years to local patients who required denture services which eventually led to the founding of Affordable Dentures, an effort co-founded by Dr. George L. Edwards, Jr. This concept grew into today’s Affordable Care Corporation which supports 170 Affordable Dentures centers across the country and serves more than 5 million patients.

“Until illness slowed him down, the Don Henson I knew was an energetic man of action, and a force for good,” said Alumni Distinguished Professor and former dean Dr. John W. Stamm. “By his example Dr. Don Henson inspired others to live, as he so frequently liked to say, as ‘givers, not takers.’”

UNC found a great and generous friend in Dr. Henson. Although not an alumnus, Dr. Henson saw the need to support the future of NC dentistry. He is remembered for generously funding the Dr. Donald Henson and Mrs. Alexandra Henson Distinguished Professorship in Pediatric Dentistry and an exam room at the Dental Faculty Practice for wheelchair-bound patients. He also served on a number of school and University committees, including the School of Dentistry Bicentennial Campaign Steering Committee, the UNC Board of Directors, the Executive Committee of the UNC-CH Educational Foundation and the UNC Board of Visitors.

“Don was a wonderful friend. He influenced me and the UNC School of Dentistry,” Stamm said. “He was positive about the people he met and looked for ways to improve their lives. He and his wife, Sandra, were consistently generous in their support to the community, their church, and particularly to various programs and entities at UNC. Don was a proud and enthusiastic UNC Tar Heel, and we’ll miss him greatly.”

A memorial service for Dr. Henson was held on Monday. His full obituary may be read by following this link: