Anyone who knew Dr. Donald L. Henson, Sr. remembered him for his humor, gracious hospitality, warmth, incredible generosity and deep commitment to the service of others. Above all, he was a devoted family man, entrepreneur and philanthropist who embodied all that it means to be a free enterprise hero.
Don Henson was born in Dallas, North Carolina on June 24, 1923, the sixth son to Joseph and Maude Henson. While growing up, Don and his five brothers started a family basketball team that competed in the Wilson, NC area from 1936-1940. He graduated high school in Snow Hill, NC in 1941 and enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Don enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania – School of Dentistry where he graduated in 1951. Soon thereafter, Don established his first dental office in Kinston, NC and started taking additional courses at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Business & Career
Dr. Henson established his first dental office in Kinston, NC and started taking additional courses in Pedodontics at the new dental school at UNC-Chapel Hill. In his practice, Dr. Henson was known for his kindness, love and respect for his patients. Later, he discovered how important it was to provide immediate dentures with same-day service, especially for rural patients who had traveled great distances, or for those who were taking time off from work. To meet the needs of his patients, Dr. Henson developed an on-site denture laboratory and processes for one-day, one-stop dental procedures.
Free Enterprise Hero
In October 1975, in a small white wooden house on East Vernon Avenue in Kinston, NC, he and Dr. George L. Edwards, Jr., co-founded Affordable Care, Inc. and the Affordable Dentures affiliated dental practices. Their business rapidly expanded across North Carolina and today, Affordable Care, Inc. supports a group of 220 Affordable Dentures affiliated dental practices in 39 states having served over 6 million patients.
A free enterprise hero not only creates jobs and helps drive the economy, but also gives back to the community and creates a legacy that promotes education, innovation and entrepreneurship. Dr. Henson was a man of good character and virtue, a man who truly made an impact on his community and around the world.