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Henry Aubrey Gilbert

Henry Aubrey Gilbert, 96, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on April 21, 2020.

He was predeceased by his wife Betty T. Gilbert, parents Homer M. and Hyacinth M. Gilbert, brothers Kenneth R. Gilbert and Capt. Homer M. Gilbert, Jr., and son-in-law William H. Slate. He is survived by daughter Sharon G. Slate, son Kevin A. Gilbert and his wife Patti, grandchildren Matthew Slate and his wife Kelly, Kyle and Megan Gilbert, and great-grandchild Ella Slate.

Henry was born August 31, 1923 in Portsmouth, VA and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School where he excelled under the direction of "The Professor" A. J. Lancaster, Wilson's acclaimed music instructor. Plans to sing professionally were interrupted by WWII, where he served honorably in the Pacific with the U.S. Navy.

Returning to Portsmouth, "Hank" met Betty Jo Tackett, who would become his cherished and loving wife for 56 years. He retired from a career at United Airlines where his guiding principle was, "take care of your people and they'll take care of you." After retirement, he enjoyed many projects. Thanks to his careful planning and craftsmanship, his family will continue to appreciate his handiwork for years to come. Henry was also an avid reader, cataloging and rating hundreds of books in his journal. Daily visits to his dear friends at Major Hillard Public Library were a highlight of his life for many years. He was a proud member of the Walter Gardner Coffee Club where many a tale was told.

Henry was a man of faith and an inspiration to many. There is no greater legacy than a well-lived life. His was one of honor, love and dedication to God, family, and those in need, no matter the circumstances. If you asked him, he would always say, "I've never had a better day." Henry will be missed greatly, but the inspiration of his relentless positivity will live on for generations.

A celebration of Henry's life will be held at an appropriate time in the future. Memorial donations may be made to West Park Church of Christ Building Fund, 960 Cherokee Road, Portsmouth, VA 23707. R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, 509 W. Washington St. is serving the family. Condolences may be registered at RWBakerFH.com

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Henry Gilbert, please visit our flower store.


Wanted you to know we are thinking about your family. Hank sang in our wedding in 1961 in Ashland, KY. Maybe we can get in touch with each other soon. Lloyd, who lives in Assisted Living here in Louisville, is 88. I notified him tonight, also.

Lee & Kay Hart May 13 2021 12:00 AM

Mr. Gilbert has been my neighbor in Brentwood for my entire life. He was a fine Christian man, always cheerful, and always left with something positive. God bless Sharon and Kevin as well as all those who loved him. His was a life well lived.

Tim Casteen May 13 2021 12:00 AM

Uncle Henry has been an inspiration to me for many years with his positive take on life. Particularly lately as Ive had some tough times to go through in my own life, Ive had him to look to on keeping a outlook even when times are tough. He will continue to be someone I look up to I always enjoyed spending time with him, and look forward to being reunited with him in Glory someday.

Kenneth Gilbert May 13 2021 12:00 AM

I got to know Mr.Gilbert many years ago when I started working for Med Emporium.We would have many conversations about Family Life and God.He was a wonderful and kind human being.Rest in peace Mr.Gilbert.

Gabriele Cash May 13 2021 12:00 AM

Being friends with Kevin allowed me to be around Mr, Gilbert at a young age and experience his love of life. I'll never forget his whistles calling Kevin home from anywhere in the neighborhood. After moving back to Brentwood as adult I would run into him everywhere, Meiggs Hardware, Food Lion, the Library in the yard and we would always talk. That's when I started to appreciate what I had not realized as a young person. His positive attitude and zest for life was not something everyone had. I am certain that is part of what allowed him to live such a long and fruitful life. He will be missed by all that knew him. Chester and Doris.

chester forehand May 13 2021 12:00 AM