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William James McHenry

June 6, 1949 ~ December 22, 2018 (age 69)

William James McHenry, 69, of Wyoming, Rhode Island passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 22, 2018. Bill was born on June 6, 1949 in Newport, and was the son of the late Greta Genevieve and James Norman McHenry. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Norma Louise McHenry. His surviving family includes daughters, Jessica Winthrop-Oney, Jocelyn McHenry Arruda and husband Kevin Arruda, and grandchildren Kristina and Aaron Arruda. Bill was an accomplished designer and craftsman, and an avid fan of motorcycles and guitars. He enjoyed problem solving, and this hobby extended to working on Triumph and Indian motorcycles, as well as his “Bucket List” of guitars, which made up the décor of his home. He began his career as a jeweler in Newport in the ‘70’s, following a swift exit from four colleges upon discovering his talent for creation, and was the owner of McHenry Jewelers, located in Brick Market. His career later evolved into cutlery, creating detailed custom knives for collectors; and finally an inventor, partnering with BenchMade Knives on the production of the AXIS lock mechanism and Infidel knife. The woods were where he felt most at home, surrounded by the wildlife and trees. He was fascinated with stonework, and built many beautiful creations on his property, including a dragon.

Bill was unconventional; he was a creative, spirited man, who devoured life and rarely slowed down until recently. He was a craftsman, a talented jeweler, and a renowned cutler with 3 US patents. He often called upon St. Brendan, The Navigator, to help him when he felt lost. He loved his family, particularly his daughters and his grandchildren. He more recently diligently applied himself to learning to make peanut butter fudge with his favorite person, granddaughter Kristina, and made sure she knew the recipe by heart. Summing Bill up in so many words is close to impossible; you loved him, or you didn’t.

A Celebration of Life will be held on St. Brendan’s Day, at the family home in Portsmouth, RI.



“Help me to journey beyond the familiar

and into the unknown.

Give me the faith to leave old ways

and break fresh ground with You.



Christ of the mysteries, I trust You

to be stronger than each storm within me.

I will trust in the darkness and know

that my times, even now, are in Your hand.

Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,

and somehow, make my obedience count for You.”

Prayer of St. Brendan

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