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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Pam Henry in 1974
(2012.201.B0261B.0143, by R. Griffin, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).

Pam Henry in 1984, with a 1959 photo
(2012.201.B0256.0188, by P. Southerland, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).

HENRY, PAMELA RUTH (1950–2018).

Broadcast journalist Pamela "Pam" Henry, the daughter of Edna Ruth Frye and Ingram Robert Henry, Jr., was born on August 19, 1950, in Ardmore, Oklahoma. The family moved to Oklahoma City, where Pam Henry graduated from John Marshall High School in 1968. While attending high school, she was president of the pep club and secretary of the safety council. She also performed in the school's theater productions.

In the early 1950s, before Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine for polio was perfected, Pam Henry contracted polio. Although she had eight surgeries on her legs, she used braces, crutches, and eventually a wheelchair. None of those obstacles deterred her from accomplishing her dreams and goals. In 1958 she became the last March of Dimes poster child for polio. She and her mother traveled around the United States, meeting prominent individuals such as broadcast journalist Walker Cronkite, former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, and Sen. John F. Kennedy.

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in journalism and broadcasting from the University of Oklahoma in 1973, Pam Henry became the first woman news reporter for WKY television in Oklahoma City. In the 1970s she encountered more prejudice because of her gender than her disability. Prior to working at WKY, she had interned at KTOK radio. Her early work in radio and television broadcasting led to other opportunities such as manager of news and public affairs at the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA). While working at OETA, she hosted the Oklahoma Magazine. She would also work for KWTV and KOCO television stations before health issues forced her retirement in 2002.

On October 16, 1976, Pam Henry married David Eugene Holliday, aide to Oklahoma governor (later U.S. Senator) David Lyle Boren. Two years later politics would enter their daily conversation. In March 1978 Republican Ron Shotts hired Henry as his press secretary during his campaign for Oklahoma governor. In 1980 Henry and Holliday divorced due to their career commitments. He remained in Washington, D.C., working for Boren. Pam Henry returned to Oklahoma City as news producer at KWTV television.

Henry received numerous awards during her lifetime. In 1973 she was named Outstanding Handicapped Oklahoman of the Year and received the Media Award from Oklahoma Trial Lawyers. Four years later she was one of seven women honored by the Oklahoma City Chapter of Women in Communications. In 2002 she received a lifetime achievement award from Oklahoma Media Network, a division of American Women in Radio and Television. She was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 2004. For many years she volunteered as an advocate for the disabled. Oklahoma City Mayor Patience Latting initially appointed her to the Mayor's Committee on Disability Concerns. Subsequent mayors continued her appointment, and she eventually served as chair and chair-emeritus of the committee. Pam Henry died on September 25, 2018, in Oklahoma City due to complications following surgery.  

Linda D. Wilson

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Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 21 December 1958, 24 December 1967, 24 February 1974, 17 October 1976, 3 April 1977, 22 June 1980, 14 January 1990, 22 September 2002, 2 April 2004, and 24 January 2008.

Rodger Harris and Bob L. Blackburn, "Whatever Happened to 3D Danny? The Golden Age of Oklahoma Television, 1949–1974," The Chronicles of Oklahoma, 69:3 (Fall 1991).

Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 26 September 2018.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Linda D. Wilson, “Henry, Pamela Ruth,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=HE025.

Published December 18, 2019

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