HALFF, Henry Dr. Henry M. Halff, Ph.D., died peacefully on August 10, 2015 in San Antonio, TX, at the age of 72. Henry is survived by his wife Jean, his son Larry, his son-in-law Randy Windham, his brother Bro, and two stepsons, Bradley and Brent Watson. Henry was born on November 26, 1942 in McAlester, OK, to Lee B. and Albert H. Halff of Dallas, TX. He graduated from Philips Exeter Academy (1960); received a B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University (1964); and earned a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin (1969). Henry became a distinguished research psychologist. He taught at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne, and subsequently managed major basic research programs on intelligent-computer-based instruction, models of cognitive skills, and biological intelligence at the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, VA. He was a pioneer in computerized instruction, serving as both a consultant and as the founder of his own firm, specializing in interactive instructional software. Over the course of his life, Henry lived in Myrtle Beach, SC; Baltimore, MD; Dallas, TX; Exeter, NH; Palo Alto, CA; Austin, TX; Ann Arbor, MI; Champagne, IL; Arlington, VA; San Diego, CA; and, finally, San Antonio, TX, where he made his home for over twenty years. It is no wonder that Henry loved to travel the world with his wife and family. As great as Henry's love of adventure was his love of his home state, Texas, and its country music, barbecue, and beer. He was a life-long athlete. After conquering competitive running and cycling, he became an accomplished Masters swimmer. As a treasured member of Masters of South Texas, he placed in regional and national competitions, as well as participating in the open-water swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco for eight years in a row, from 2007 through 2014. Henry was a witty and articulate writer, who often authored entertaining online accounts of his own and others' adventures. He also was skilled at sketching and painting, and an expert public speaker. Henry is remembered for both his fine mind and his great compassion, and as always being the champion of the underdog. Throughout his life, he tirelessly served his fellow human beings. He once declared, "My goal in life is to serve others." He achieved that goal with enthusiasm and kindness. Henry grew up as a member of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, and was a vital leader in Unitarian Universalist congregations throughout his life, most notably the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington and the Community Unitarian Universalist Church in San Antonio. Rev. Daniel Kanter of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas will officiate at a brief service at 2:00 PM on Saturday, August 15 at the Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home. Rev. Dr. Joshua Snyder will officiate at a memorial service at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio at 3:00 PM on Saturday, September 26. Memorials may be sent to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF or Habitat for Humanity.
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Published in Dallas Morning News on Aug. 13, 2015.