Oklahoma television pioneer Pam Henry passes away

OKLAHOMA CITY - It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of a pioneer of Oklahoma City television.

Pam Henry passed away in an Oklahoma City hospital, surrounded by family members, on Tuesday.

During her life, Henry broke through the barriers of sickness and stigma to accomplish a lot of firsts.

"I think my life has been grand, but I don't think I'm grand," Henry told KFOR in 2015.

When she was just a toddler, Henry contracted polio before the Salk vaccine was widely available. At just 8-years-old, Henry became the last national poster child for the March of Dimes polio campaign.

Pam Henry was a poster child for the March of Dimes

"I didn't think I was different in a bad way. I just had braces and crutches and the other children didn't," she said.

Following several television interviews, Henry decided that she wanted to be a journalist when she grew up.

Even though there were no female reporters on local television, she pursued her journalism degree anyway at the University of Oklahoma.

In 1972, WKY news director Ernie Schultz hired Henry as Oklahoma City's first female television reporter.

Pam Henry became the first female news reporter in Oklahoma City at WKY.

"I can't think of anytime when I've ever been intimidated, I just went in there hopeful," Henry said of when she walked in to Channel 4.

Ultimately, she went on to work in Washington, D.C. and even became the news director at OETA.

She is a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, and spent much of her time advocating for the disabled.

Family friends tell KFOR that Henry died following complications from emergency surgery on Tuesday morning.

"Our dear friends Pam passed away early this morning. To say that her passing leaves a huge void in all of our lives is an understatement. Yet, our lives were truly enriched for having known her. Her family will be making plans for a memorial, and when those details are finalized I will post them here. To all who have prayed, written, and otherwise shared your concern and love for Pam, I know her family and friends are grateful," Don Sherry, Henry's close friend, said in a statement.

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt shared a photo and commended Pam on her work and advocacy for OKC.

OETA will rebroadcast Don Sherry's documentary on Pam Henry, "The Last Poster Child- The Life of Pam Henry" on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.

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