Second-Generation Residents Have Special Connection to Butterfield
To say Butterfield residents Ann and Dr. Morriss Henry are pillars of the community is an understatement.
Anyone who knows this Fayetteville golden couple, each with outstanding careers and records of service, knows they’ve actively supported their community and served as a source of inspiration to friends, colleagues and family for more than 40 years.
As a pioneering ophthalmologist, Morriss Henry was a principal at the Henry Eye Clinic in Northwest Arkansas from 1961 to 2017 – and one of the first eye surgeons in the state to operate using lasers.
Ann is a former educator, associate professor and faculty chair at the University of Arkansas who, like her husband, has a distinguished record of service.
Since moving to the Village in July 2019, Ann and Morriss have been actively supporting key initiatives in Northwest Arkansas. Morriss is behind the establishment of a medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Centers (UAMS) in Fayetteville, and both are helping with the $23 million capital campaign to fund the new expansion project at the Fayetteville Public Library.
“Morriss and I are honorary co-chairs of the library expansion campaign along with Jim and Nancy Blair,” said Ann, who was the volunteer fundraiser for the existing library. The new expansion and renovation is especially important since it has the potential to impact such a large cross section of the community.
“Libraries are open to everyone,” Ann said. “With the programs they offer and the opportunities they create, especially for children, libraries have the power to transform lives.”
Ann is presently on the BTV Board of Directors representing Central United Methodist Church, while Morriss is a former board member for the church.
At Butterfield, Ann and Morriss represent a growing trend not only in Northwest Arkansas but at retirement communities across the country: they are second-generation residents whose parents lived at BTV before them.
As BTV celebrates its 34th anniversary in March, second-generation residents like the Henrys are becoming more and more common.
“It’s a huge compliment to Butterfield,” CEO/President Quintin Trammell said. “More and more residents are following in their parents’ footsteps in retirement and it’s a direct affirmation of our quality of life.”
THE EYES HAVE IT
Ann and Morriss have deep roots in Northwest Arkansas, extending in many different directions. With Ann the self-described “talker” of the pair, and Morriss the “encourager,” the Henrys are two very independent people who’ve chosen to walk the path of life together.
Born in Oklahoma, Ann Rainwater was a quintessential Springdale, Ark., girl: she worked at the Welch’s Grape Juice plant in town one summer, and was a waitress in high school and in college at the original AQ Chicken House. After earning a degree in education at the University of Arkansas, Ann taught school in Missouri before returning to the UA to earn her master’s degree.
Meanwhile, Morriss, a Fort Smith High School alum who graduated from Hendrix College, followed in both of his parents’ footsteps and became an ophthalmologist. He earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee Medical School like his father, mother and grandfather before him.
After medical school and a residency at Harvard in ophthalmology, Morriss served as a captain in the Air Force and chief of a military eye clinic in Bitburg, Germany, from 1959 to 1961.
Later, after he returned home to NWA, he was the doctor Ann Rainwater saw to have her eyes checked before she left for the summer.
“My sights weren’t on getting married at the time,” Ann remembered with a laugh. “So when Morriss came along, it was a surprise. I’d been waiting for someone who shared the same values I did, and he did. I remember I went home that day and immediately told my mom, ‘I’ve just met my future husband.’ He just didn’t know it yet.”
MAKING AN IMPACT
Ann and Morriss married on August 1, 1964. He was already enrolled in law school at the UA in 1961 and he encouraged Ann to do the same. She was one of two women enrolled at the UA School of Law. Over the next seven years, Ann had the couple’s three children while going to school part-time.
In May of 1971, Ann and Morriss both received their Juris Doctorate degrees at commencement ceremonies attended by their children. Ann practiced for about a year before returning home to care for Paul, Kathy and Mark. She volunteered at their elementary school, was a Girl and Boy Scout troop leader, and was involved in church.
Today, Paul Henry is an ophthalmologist at Henry Eye Clinic. Daughter Katherine Henry Baltz and her husband Tracy Baltz are both ophthalmologists in Little Rock, and son Mark Henry is a lawyer in Fayetteville. The Henrys have eight wonderful grandchildren aged 14-22.
Back in 1976, Ann joined the UA’s business college as a part-time instructor. Taking an upward track, Ann became an associate professor, an assistant and an associate dean, and was elected faculty chair in 1989, before returning to the classroom for another ten years until her retirement in 1999.
Over the years, Ann has been appointed to serve on a number of state boards and commissions. Locally, she served on the Fayetteville City Board of Directors twice, taught Sunday School at Central United Methodist Church for many years, sang in the choir there, and was the first female lay reader at the church.
Ann was on the board of directors at Arvest Bank for 30 years and involved with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute advisory board from 2011 to 2019. Ann and Morriss both were longtime board members for The Nature Conservancy of Arkansas.
Morriss served in the Arkansas Legislature for 16 years from 1967 to 1985. Two items of legislation he passed and is most proud of added 12,000 acres of land to the Hobbs estate in Benton County and established the state’s Area Health Education Centers. Morriss was also an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas at Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock from 1961 to 1972. He is the founding chairman and a lifetime member of the UAMS Northwest Advisory Board Council.
Thanks to the leadership of Morriss and other BTV residents who are on the UAMS advisory board, Butterfield and UAMS formed a partnership that resulted in the establishment of the UAMS at BTV onsite, primary-care clinic serving Village residents.
It is through his role on the UAMS advisory council that Morriss is supporting the regional effort to establish a medical school at the UAMS campus in Northwest Arkansas.
“The push is for a four-year medical school in Fayetteville to expand our research capabilities and create a level of specialized care in our area so that people don’t have to travel to other places to receive it,” Morriss said. “A medical school program like this will go a long way in establishing Northwest Arkansas as a major healthcare destination.”
IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS
Early in his career, Morriss practiced with his parents, Dr. Murphey Henry and Dr. Louise Henry, who opened the original Henry Eye Clinic in Fort Smith in 1932. Later, when Morriss expanded the practice to Fayetteville, his parents took turns coming to Fayetteville to see patients and help. Later in the early ‘70’s, they moved to NWA to practice with their son.
After Louise Henry died, Murphey Henry retired in Fayetteville, and was one of first residents to move to Butterfield after it opened on March 10, 1986.
The transition had a few bumps, but Murphey Henry enjoyed socializing with friends in the men’s coffee group on campus – much like the men’s coffee klatch at the BTV Bistro that Morriss is part of today.
“My dad was a history major at Washington and Lee University and served in World War I and II,” Morriss said. “His experiences helped shape my life. I could always talk to him about life’s challenges. I miss his wisdom.”
Ann’s parents, Andy and Opal Rainwater, moved to Butterfield in 1989. BTV was 10 minutes from Morriss and Ann’s home in Fayetteville,
“My father had worked for the Methodist church, and he loved being in the BTV Play Readers Theatre,” Ann said. “After he died, my mother had three very close friends who lived at BTV. They’d watch Jeopardy together in the afternoons to help keep their minds sharp.”
“Mom was definitely active at Butterfield,” Ann said. “She lived to be 100.”
Ann’s visits with her mom at Butterfield, like Morriss’ with his father, gave the Henrys a unique insight to the needs of their parents as maturing adults — and to the amenities and convenience available to Village residents.
“There’s value in being a second-generation resident at Butterfield,” Ann said. “You’ve had a parent or parents who lived here before you, and you know what to expect and what opportunities there are. It is a very caring community.”
“Let me tell you,” she said, “Butterfield is the best gift you can give your family.”