Henry Halama

Henry Halama
Henry Halama

Henry Halama, born in 1929 in Czechoslovakia, passed away June 20, 2015 at the age of 86. He loved Long Island and lived there most of his adult life including Shoreham, Shelter Island and Amagansett. 

As a child he dreamed of becoming a poet, however his fight against communism forced him to escape from his beloved country in 1948.  He traveled with his dear friend Milan Ondrich through Germany, Sweden and eventually to Canada. In 1958, he was invited to Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he worked for the next 34 years. He published many scientific papers and was known internationally for his research on high energy physics.

After his retirement he began painting landscapes in pastels and oils. He captured many of his favorite places on the canvas, including mountains he had hiked and waters he had paddled. In addition to writing poetry and birding he began to lead trips in his newer hobbies of butterflies and mushrooms. He moved to Woodstock, N.Y. in 2004 to be close to one of his passions: skiing. He spent as much time as possible on the slopes, never discouraged by poor conditions, just thrilled to absorb the wind in his hair and Mother Nature all around.

In 2013 he published a compilation of his poetry since ’65, entitled “Henry Halama Poems”

It includes this later poem:



Slowly, as the twilight creeps in,
time is trying hard to take away from me
my pleasures one by one.
So far it seems, as if some invisible force,
some inner strength perhaps
is slowing his progress.

Autumn like other seasons has his charms
as Keats so well expressed
in “mists and mellow fruitfulness”.
Deep in my soul I hear a voice:
‘Let falling leaves be messengers of hope
not of despair. Let muted golds and singing reds
give a new meaning to your days!’

I think of unchanged starry nights,
their velvet darkness, the endless loves
they generously gave, when I was young.

Yes, a few coveted pleasures pass me by,
but many more remain to lure a smile
on a cloudy morning’s frowning face.
Yes, Life is good and may be better still.

He is survived by his loving partner, Jane Schmitz; his daughter Caroline Ford and her husband Roger Ford; his son, Henry Halama and partner, Patty Malloy; his daughter Vlasta Benedict and her husband Marc Benedict; his grandchildren Matthew Ford, Nalo and Corrina Benedict and his great-grandchildren, Brayden and Brice Ford.

Henry was a passionate man with infinite energy.  Jane and Henry pursued their interest in classical music, attending many concerts at Bard and Maverick, the Met Operas Live at Time & Space Limited (TSL) and choral concerts. He particularly enjoyed “Doug Fox’s Opera Night” on WMNR and phoned in his reaction each week.

Henry was fascinated by cosmology, spending hours looking up at the stars. His love for the cosmos became an inspiration for research, his poetry and his painting.

Henry hiked all the Adirondack peaks with his daughter Caroline to become a 46er at the age of 62. He went on to become a member of the 3500 club. He loved the snow and Hunter Mountain and taught all his kids to ski. To know him was to know speed.

Henry was happiest outdoors with binoculars around his neck. Whether in a canoe, on a mountaintop, in a tent, in the woods, in a meadow or sitting beneath the stars in front of a fire, immersed in nature was where he loved to be. No matter what conditions life had to offer, there was always a patch of blue sky for Henry.

This is a paid notice.