Remembering Carl Henn

By Helen Triolo, last updated 7/28/14 09:00am

Phyllis Marcuccio speaking at Carl Henn's Memorial Service/Celebration of Life in 2010

Photo credit Brad Rourke (YouTube screenshot)  

In memory of Carl Henn, who was such a role model for walking the walk, always working to turn his passion for creating a better world into action, we post this video taken by Brad Rourke 4 years ago at the celebration of life held for Carl at F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater.

It was a wonderful event in which many of Carl's friends and family members remembered him with humor and stories, leaving everyone present with the desire to make our own lives as meaningful as Carl's was.

Below is a transcript of some of the comments by then-Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, which I've enjoyed listening to all over again. My thanks to Brad Rourke for making and posting the video.

"[As one of the founding members of the Rockville Bike Advisory Committee (RBAC)], I know you all know what he did for biking in Rockville. You all know his tale about how he went out there and measured Wootton Parkway and the area to make sure the Millenium Trail could be built. He was so passionate about things he cared about and so stubborn. You knew if Carl wanted to get it done, it was going to get done. If he didn't do it this time, he would do it next time. He was committed, deliberate, and a real, considerate individual who cared about people and things that mattered to him.

I first came in contact with Carl when he ran for office in 2001. It wasn't long before I started calling him Mr. Peak Oil. I told him so many times on the campaign trail (he later ran in 2007 and 2009), you've got to do something besides peak oil. You're absolutely right about it, but you know most people don't even know what you're talking about. They want to hear about what's needed in Rockville, what you can do for the city. We must have had that conversation a dozen, two dozen times. But he always found a way of bringing it back into the conversation, even when you got him not to talk about it.

He had a marvelous sense of humor. In the last campaign, in a debate at Thomas Farm Community Center, candidates were asked a lot of questions we didn't know were coming. One of these questions was regarding chickens in the City of Rockville. Well, it was kind of a silly question; I guess it was to break the ice. But when Carl got up to answer the question of what should we do about chickens in Rockville, his comment was "If it lays, it stays. If it crows, it goes." He was marvelous at bringing humor into a situation, and I will miss that.

He was a catalyst for developing the community gardens of Rockville. I can remember a Hometown Holidays many many years ago in which Carl had set up his own little stand. He had brought a table and some boards and a display, as Carl normally did --he had lots of data-- and he wanted people to sign up for a community garden in their community. Isn't there a piece of ground somewhere we can put a garden? He really meant this; he wanted it all over the city. Well, I don't have to tell you, he put his money where his mouth is. There are now 187 plots around the city. That is due to Carl's efforts.

My goodness, he practiced his passion. He came to Citizens Forum and public hearings whenever there was an issue he felt strongly about. He had a way of bringing [an issue] to you and making it practical, giving it a sound base.

Rockville has truly lost one of its treasures. Carl was a unique individual. He was passionate, and had an ability to lace whatever he said with humor. You knew you could talk comfortably with him. We all had that --I'm sure I'm speaking for most of us here-- that sense of warmth about him, that he was one of us, he cared, he would help, he would do.

Carl's work is done. It's our work, as his friends and admirers, to carry it forward. I know the city will do that. Thank you for the honor of speaking."

Filed under Around Town, Green transportation, Food: organic, local, sustainably produced

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