Henry J. Halko

  • Died: September 24, 2017
  • Location: Charlton, Massachusetts

Eaton & Mackay Funeral Home

465 Centre St
Newton, MA 02458

Tel. (617) 244-2034

Tribute & Message From The Family

Henry J. Halko, of Charlton, formerly Webster,Brookline, Chestnut Hill and Boston. Henry was born on October 31, 1925 in Worcester, Ma. He was graduated from Bartlett High in 1943 and entered Worcester State College, but was drafted into the U. S. Army the following year. After two years of service he came home and entered Clark University where he completed a four-year program in two years, graduating in 1948. He then enrolled at Brown University, from which he received both an M.A. And Ph.D. In Colonial History.
In 1953 Henry began teaching at Simmons College, where he found his academic home for 37 years. Since fourth grade he had always wanted to teach, and that enthusiasm remained with him throughout his career. He taught history with a passion and a style all his own. He said, "You discover certain eccentricities that become your hallmark. Sometimes in a lecture I would spontaneously jump on a desk and become an 18th-century evangelist talking to God. I certainly held my audience!"
A top favorite for hundreds of students over the years, one recalls, "It was staggering how much energy he exuded. I felt I owed him my best ... he was working so hard at it himself." Another alumna said "He radiated with joy when he taught, and he maintains a keen interest in my work as an historian. That only reaffirms my admiration of him as a teacher and my appreciation of the gift of knowing him."
To the surprise and delight of family and friends in the Simmons community, in 1968 Henry married Jane Curtin, a Simmons alumna who worked at the college for 34 years as director of undergraduate admissions and later, as director of admission at the graduate school of management. Together the Halkos were world travelers and led the first Simmons Alumnae Association trip to England in 1987.
One of Henry's courses, Colonial Boston, was a favorite among students. He initiated it in 1976, the nation's bicentennial, thinking it would only last for the year. Much to his surprise and the delight of students, he taught that course until he retired in 1990.
Family and friends of the Halkos established a scholarship in their names. It honors their love of education and travel by assisting undergraduates of limited financial means to participate in study abroad programs.
A teacher even in retirement, Henry has enjoyed gardening, travel, animals (especially cats), time with family and friends, discussions of politics, religion and world events. Everyone lucky enough to know him would agree he was one of the most thoughtful people they ever met.
Henry was predeceased by his beloved wife Jane in 2004, five sisters and a brother. He is survived by his younger brother, Ronald Halko of Amherst, Ma. And four generations of loving nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will take place on Sunday, October 1st, from 4:00 - 7:00 at the Eaton & Mackay Funeral Home, 465 Centre Street, Newton. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 am on Monday, October 2nd at Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, 28 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Henry J Halko and Jane Curtin Halko '45 Scholarship c/o Simmons College, 300 The Fenway, Boston, Ma. 02115.