Spread the love

Charlotte, North Carolina – Henry Bostic Jr. endured whatever life threw at him with humility and humor. The untimely loss of
his two siblings. The disease of alcoholism. Parkinson’s disease. Not even pancreatic cancer could rob him of his spirit.
Henry’s last words to his wife, Ann, came two days before he died.

“I gotta figure some things out,” he told her. Ann isn’t sure whether Henry needed to figure out what might come after death or perhaps where she should donate his collection of old books. What she does know is that this was pure Henry. Undaunted until the end.

Henry Hawes Bostic Jr. died on December 18, 2023. He was 77. The son of Henry Sr. and Rosa Bostic, he was raised in Elizabethtown, N.C., 80 miles south of Raleigh. He found an outlet for his curiosity, and a career, at a young age. At Elizabethtown High School, where he also played football and basketball, he was editor of The Yellow Jacket Journal. At Wake
Forest University, he was co-editor of The Old Gold & Black student newspaper. Henry and his lifelong best friend and co-editor, Ralph Simpson, never quit laughing about those midnight runs to the bus station to get the newspaper printed, bad weather and other challenges be darned.

Henry was hooked. After graduating from Wake Forest with a B.A. in political science and history, he moved to Charlotte and
began work in 1970 at The Charlotte News, the long-gone afternoon newspaper, as a reporter and assistant city editor.

What followed was a half-century career serving various institutions. He had a gift for talking to anyone and everyone,
pulling stories out of them and sharing those stories with others. He took honest pleasure in the human connection. Among the jobs he held closest to his heart, Henry spent nearly 19 years overseeing marketing and communications for then-
Presbyterian Hospital and the hospital’s foundation. He was executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association’s – Western
Carolina chapter. Before retiring in 2015, he worked for 10 years at Premier, the Charlotte-based healthcare company.
Colleagues agreed, he mastered the art of pulling heartstrings in his writing. He was also the king of break room banter.
Henry’s career didn’t define who he was and it was only a part of his legacy.

He showed us what grace means even in the worst of times. He lost his two younger siblings – Joe Bostic in a wreck at age 44
and Rosemary Allen to cancer at age 66 – and was forever proud to share his memories of them with others. He showed
us what it means to defeat your demons. From the day he entered AA in 1987, he never had another drink, fulfilling the
promise he made to die sober. Ann, his wife of 33 years, will never forget their first date. It was to his AA meeting. With Ann,
he showed us how to let bygones be bygones. Even though Henry and his first wife, Rebecca Eatman (his high school sweetheart and the mother of Hawes Bostic), divorced, their friendship endured and grew to include their spouses.

Henry is survived by his wife, Ann Bostic, of Charlotte; his son, Henry Hawes Bostic III and his wife, Ambriel, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and two grandchildren, Haddie and Bo Bostic. He is also survived by several nephews, cousins and a niece.

A celebration of his life is planned in the Spring. A gift in Henry’s memory can be made to Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University, 2100 Eure Drive, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27106. Forever a Demon Deacon, he was wearing a Wake Forest ball cap and sweatshirt when his body was donated to Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

The family is grateful for the care and kindness shown to Henry during his struggle with Parkinson’s disease and pancreatic
cancer: Drs. Kunal Kadakia, Susan Legrand and Derek McHaffie and their teams and support staff at Atrium Health Levine
Cancer Institute; Drs. Paul Colavita, Ornob Roy and David Iannitti at Atrium Health, and the LC12 lab ladies, transporters
and admission staff at Levine Cancer Institute. Also, Dr. Sanjay Iyer, Jessie Hoskins and staff at Memory & Movement
Charlotte; Tryon Medical Partners; Jennifer Gossett and her team at Atrium Home Health; VIA Health Partners (formerly
Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region), and Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Aldersgate.

Such a rich life he lived in the ways of wealth that truly matter. Henry cherished history, including documenting that of his own
family. He collected antique books, coins and other “treasures” he discovered at flea markets, Goodwill stores and the strangest of places. If he spotted a coin at an intersection, he’d sometimes leap out of the car and fetch it. If you borrowed a
tool, he’d tell you the highway on which he found it. You never know when you’ll stumble across a treasure. The to-do list he
left for Ann includes donating his “stuff” to a library or the like.

Henry was drawn to museums, among his favorites the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. He kept up with friends through Charlotte Rotary (the downtown chapter). He never lost his gift for relationship-building. Even in this day and age, Henry wasn’t afraid to talk politics with people nor they with him. He was a fearless chef even after cancer cost him his sense of taste. Many friends and neighbors relished a gift of his famous (and secret) barbecue sauce.

He used to make his family’s famous (and secret) barbecue sauce for friends and neighbors. Renowned for his ability to edit a story so it gets right to the point, Henry would have loved that upon his passing, an old friend solicited tributes from Henry’s many colleagues. He would have recognized the tidy perfection of a short one that got to the heart of not just Henry’s work, but of his life.

“A good man. A good colleague. A good human.”

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204.

(704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

About Author