Henry J. Halko

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

Eaton & Mackay Funeral Home

465 Centre St
Newton, MA 02458

Info@eatonfuneralhomes.com
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.


Services


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dr. Halko was by far my favorite professor at Simmons college. I had the unique pleasure of having very small classes with him in my senior year (only 3 of us in one class).
My claim to fame was just after he and Jane married. They planned to honeymoon in London but Jane needed to remain at the College for a short time beyond their planned departure. Henry went on ahead without her and coincidently I arrived in London at the same time. We met for a lovely meal and brief visit. From then on I joked to everyone that I spent the first day of his honeymoon with him!

Back in Boston he and Jane invited me and my best friend (my fellow classmate and Halko fan, Roz) for dinner in their lovely home in Chestnut Hill. It was a wonderful , memorable evening.

Several years later I visited Boston from my then home in Los Angeles. By then Roz had a baby girl and we convinced Henry to go to lunch with us. Another special memory.

He has remained in my thoughts for over 50 years, no more so than when the Hamilton craze started. Little did I know that our classes on the Federalist Papers would come back to me and renew my respect and affection for my wonderful professor.

Posted by Jane Klein - Boynton Beach, FL   December 23, 2019

Candle

I was an education and psychology major while at Simmons but was lucky enough to take a class with Professor Halko. He made the material come alive and was such a memorable teacher. Once you knew him, he would always be there for you to talk about any subject. He was a true mentor and embodied why Simmons was such a wonderful school to attend.

Posted by Michelle Shuster - Haverhill, MA - Student   October 12, 2017

I attended Simmons College graduating in 1964. I never had Hank Halko for a course but enjoyed his lectures to my freshman class.

Posted by Miriam (Mimi) Allen Black Black - Winchester, MA - Student   October 11, 2017

My great grandmother Sophie was Henry's sister. I grew up in Stafford, but my parents brought me to Chestnut Hill to visit Uncle Henry and Aunt Jane a few times as a child. I will never forget a visit when I was about eight years old. He took us around the freedom trail and gave me an immersive day of Boston history. We finished up the day at the children's museum, where he climbed through all of the exhibits with me. He and Jane bought me the coolest Pocahontas Barbie doll in Faneuil Hall after we had dinner at Durgin-Park. I played with my new doll while he showed me all of his "crib sets," nativities that he and Jane collected throughout their travels.

I fell in love with both Boston and History that day. I went on to study Art History at both the BA and MA level, and I have been living just outside of Boston for the past seven years.

Although we did not keep in touch must past my adolescent years, Uncle Henry made a huge impact on who I am as a person, largely shaping my interests and exposing me to the great big world beyond my small hometown. I was happy to learn that we share an affinity for museums, animals, and flowers...three things that are very dear to me!

Posted by Erin Webb - Watertown, MA - Family   October 02, 2017

I remember Mr. Halko fondly as a wonderful teacher who clearly had a passion for history. Thank you for sharing that passion with your students and we few history majors.

Posted by Jane DiPaolo Kontoff - ID - Student   October 01, 2017

Candle

I hadn't seen Uncle Henry for a few years but I remember when I spent a few of my childhood Summers at my Grandmother Halko's house in Webster, Massachusetts. My mother, his sister and my father lived in Stafford Springs, Ct...about 30 miles from Webster and we would go there often to visit. Uncle Henry always called me "Beverlinka" He played the piano for me and also taught me a few songs, too. I had happy childhood memories from those Summers and visits. I am very blessed to have had Henry Halko as my uncle and I wish I could have kept in touch more than I had as we both grew older. I will miss you Uncle Henry and the memories you left for me. I will always be your " Beverlinka".

Posted by Beverly Evanoff - Vero Beach, FL - Family   October 01, 2017

Loved taking his American History course in 1964 to 1965 as a sophomore. Although a social science concentrator, I often say I was a "history minor" having taken many more history courses after taking his. In the summer of 1967, Professor Halko met a group of us 4 students in London who were participating in Simmons internships arranged by the government department. I recall he was doing research on the "Boston massacre". Such fun! One of the three "H" giants of the history department at that time: Halko, Hawthorne and Hunter! Thank you Simmons.

Posted by Laura Monin - Moraga, CA - Student   September 29, 2017

I was a student at Simmons College 1969-1970, having thereafter transferred and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. Henry Halko was the singular influence in my academic career: he taught with brilliance, passion, gusto and profund respect for his students. Years later, while on a business trip to Boston, he was kind enough to both remember me, and make time to have dinner with me, and we had a delightful dinner which touched on all issues of the day, large and small, not the least of which was the nature of the courses he was teaching, and the brillance of his beloved students. He was, and shall always remain, the gold standard of educators and historians, not to mention a person involved and committed to his world and the people in it. My condolences to his family, and the countless friends, students and people whose lives he touched so profoundly.

Posted by Nancy Ledy-Gurren - New York, NY   September 29, 2017

It was my absolute pleasure to have known and been taught by Professor Halko. Despite being a science major, he remains in my heart as a gifted, energetic teacher who made the field of American and Boston history come alive! He was one of my favorite teachers while at Simmons.

Posted by Donna Ferlito-Brown , 83' - Derry, NH - Student   September 29, 2017

I was Simmons class of 1991 and had the pleasure of having "Halko Henry" teach at least two of my classes, Colonial Boston and Tudor Stuart England. He was very knowledgeable on both subjects and made each lecture a lot fun. To this day, I am very interested in both subjects. Professor Halko was a man who I felt lucky to have met, may his memory be blessing to his family.

Posted by Diane Marget - Needham, MA - student   September 29, 2017

I took Professor Halko's Colonial Boston class as a humanities requirement. I did not realize that it was the first year of offering the class, 1976. Or, it might have been in 1977. To this day, it brings back fond memories when I recall his lectures. He truly was so animated and enthusiastic. I offer my sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

Posted by Emily (Chin) Wong - Fountain Valley, CA - Student   September 28, 2017

Henry is one of the reasons why I majored in American studies and why colonial American history is my favorite period of history and the area in which I work to this day. He had a wonderful sense of humor, an incisive teaching style, and his enthusiasm for his subject and for working with students will always be remembered. My condolences to the entire family, and may his memory, and that of his dear wife, Jane, always be for a blessing.

Posted by Martha Katz-Hyman - Newport News, VA   September 28, 2017

If you had the honor of meeting Henry then you were truly a lucky person and know how wonderful he was.I will miss your smile your humor and above all your kindness.You may not have been the most handsome man but you sure were good looking! Rest in peace my friend.

Posted by Nancy Krull - N Oxford, MA   September 27, 2017

My sympathy to his family and friends, he was a mentor of true merit...

Posted by Theresa Lafer '70 - State College, PA   September 27, 2017