AFTRA’s John Henning dies

Board member belonged to Boston local for over 40 years

AFTRA national board member John Henning died July 7 of leukemia in Boston. He was 73.

An AFTRA member for about 45 years, he served on the Boston Local board as well as the national board. He joined AFTRA in 1965 and almost immediately became a union leader. He was elected to the local and national boards in 1968 and served for nearly 40 years. He was national VP in 1970-71.

Henning was a radio and TV reporter, a TV news anchor and commentator in Boston for more than 45 years and over the span of his career had worked for three Boston network affiliates — WBZ, WCVB and WNAC — as well as pubcaster WGBH. He covered every state election beginning in 1962.

Henning won kudos for covering Boston’s 1960 gangland wars, the hunt for the Boston Strangler and the school busing turmoil during the 1970s. The Boston/New England chapter of NATAS bestowed the Governors Award on him in 1995 and at AFTRA’s 2003 convention, Henning received the AFTRA Gold Card, the highest honor its members can receive.

“John was a gentleman in word and deed,” AFTRA national prexy Roberta Reardon said on the union’s website. “He loved the truth and spent his life telling it, both as a journalist and as a unionist. His devotion to AFTRA and the rights of working men and women was clear and unequivocal. Over the years, he repeatedly offered me support and direction that I value to this day. It is an incredible honor to call him my friend and colleague.”

Survivors include two sons, five brothers and three grandchildren.

The Boston Local will be working with Henning’s family to establish an AFTRA scholarship in his name.

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