Dr. Walter Dean Henrichs

Dr. Walter Dean Henrichs, 80, of Advance, NC, passed away Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at his home.  Dean was born on October 26, 1939 in Smith Center, KS to Walter  and Mildred Henrichs.  Dean always attributed much of whatever success he achieved in later life to his good fortune of being the son of two loving and nurturing parents and his childhood spent in the small North Central Kansas town of Smith Center. Neither of Dean’s parents had the opportunity to pursue higher education but both appreciated its importance and stressed that “academics came first”.  Dean was also fortunate to attend Smith Center High School, a small school with excellent caring teachers.  The fact that it was a small school allowed Dean to participate in multiple activities, where effort and hard work were as important as native ability.  Dean was able to sing in various choral groups and play trumpet in the band and several instrumental groups.  He was a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the football, basketball, track and golf teams.  During the summer he played American Legion Baseball, (once striking out 19 of the 21 batters faced in a 7 inning game).  He was also grateful that he was able to have numerous jobs as a young person – from mowing lawns with his younger brother, Kent, to making ice cream and working in the warehouse at Mini-Max, to making the harvest run as a member of a custom harvesting crew.  These early experiences gave him confidence in his abilities, the attitude that much could be achieved through hard work, and the appreciation that there are many very intelligent individuals without titles and/or degrees in the world. Dean’s first ambition was to attend the US Naval Academy but when admission was denied because of poor vision, he enrolled at the University of Kansas where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity forming many lifelong friendships.  He obtained a degree in economics while completing the prerequisites for medical school.  He applied to medical school and The Peace Corps at the same time and accepted the offer for admission to the KU School of Medicine when they were the first to respond.  He hated his first year in medical school and considered dropping out.  He tolerated his 2nd and by his 3rd and 4th years was relieved to have found his life’s calling.  While in medical school he enlisted in the US Navy and was commissioned as an officer in the Navy Medical Corps.  Upon graduation Dean interned at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.  He then attended the Navy’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Pensacola, Fl. where he was designated a Navy Flight Surgeon.  In April, 1967, in St. Louis, MO, Dean married Barbara Bremer, a physical therapist, whom he had met on a blind date while in medical school.  Together they started on a 20+ year adventure with the US Navy.  Following 3 years on Guam, they were stationed for 4 years at RAF Mildenhall, England.  It was during his tour in England that Dean realized that roughly 1/3 of his patients had complaints related to the skin, a subject in which he felt deficient.  He applied and was accepted to the 3 year training program in dermatology at the Bethesda Naval Hospital.  Following his training in dermatology, Dean completed a 1 year fellowship in Dermatopathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C.  He then returned to the Bethesda Naval Hospital where he practiced and taught clinical dermatology and dermatopathology.  Later he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Dermatology and consultant to the Navy Surgeon General.  Dean retired from the US Navy with the rank of Captain MC USN in 1983. Following his retirement from the Navy, Dean, Barbara and their 3 young sons, Matt, Mark and Jon moved to Winston-Salem, NC, where Dean had been recruited to join Winston-Salem Health Care (WSHC) as their first dermatologist.  Dean enjoyed being a staff member at WSHC where he valued the friendship and respect of his colleagues and was proud of the quality of health care they were able to provide.  Dean retired from WSHC in 2007.  In June of 2008, Dean and Barbara moved to Bermuda Village where they traveled extensively.  Dean was also an avid golfer until health problems intervened.  He was a member of numerous professional societies and associations, as well as Centenary United Methodist Church and Forsyth Country Club. Dean was preceded in death by his parents and younger brother, Kent.  He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara and their faithful canine companion Roscoe, of Advance, NC and three sons, Matt (Cami), grandchildren Josh and Kate, of Marietta, GA; Mark of Atlanta, GA and Jon of Winston-Salem, NC. Per Dean’s request there will be no services.  The family can be contacted through Bermuda Village (142 Bermuda Village Dr, Bermuda Run, NC 27006). In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to: USD 237 Smith Center c/o Mr. Joshua Lanning, Superintendent, 216 S. Jefferson Street, Smith Center, KS 66967. Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, 3655 Reed Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27107 www.secondharvestnwnc.org.

9 Responses to “Dr. Walter Dean Henrichs

  • Terri Kennedy
    2 months ago

    Barbara & boys,

    I just received news about Dr. Henrichs. It saddens my heart. He was,a wonderful doctor to work for. We spent many years together at Winston Salem Health Care. I have great memories, he was one of a,kind.
    My prayers are with you all.
    Terri kennedy

  • Dulaney Glen
    3 months ago

    I am saddened to learn of Dean’s death. As a colleague at Health Care for many years, I was always very pleased with the superb care and attention he devoted to my (and others’) patients, as well as his unending congeniality. I share in his family’s loss. Dulaney Glen, MD

  • Bill Campbell, M.d.
    3 months ago

    God’s blessing to family and friends.

  • Bill Campbell, M.D.
    3 months ago

    Dean was friend, roommate and classmate of mine at KUMC. I enjoyed and honored his friendship greatly. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. God Bless to family. Bill Campbell, M.D.

    • Lara Hanes Pierce
      3 months ago

      I am SO sorry about your loss! My thoughts and prayers are with your family!

  • Anonymous
    3 months ago

    Prayers for his family. He treated my daughter for several years for a complex issue. He was straightforward, informative and kind. He treated her with respect and compassion. Even though he was unable to find a solution to her issue my daughter thought he was a wonderful physician and we all appreciated his care for her .

  • Garmon R. Underwood
    3 months ago

    I was a patient of Dr. Henrich’s during his tenure at WSHC. I am very saddened to hear of his passing. He was an excellent dermatologist, and extremely knowledgable in a wide range of subjects. I used to enjoy our conversations during my visits there. My deepest condolences to Mrs. Henrichs and family.

  • Anonymous
    3 months ago

    I am sad to hear about Dr. Henrichs. I worked at WS Health Care when he joined our staff of Physicians and got to know him as a physician and someone with a kind manner and a smile from what I interpreted as a quiet sense of humor. I know he will be missed. Sharon Robinson

  • So sorry for your loss Henrichs family. Dean’s son, Matt is a pledge brother of mine from the Beta house at KU (1996). What an incredible life and example for all who know him..52 years of marriage! I think thats awesome. My heart is with your family.
    Yours in -Kai-
    Max Myers

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