The Henig family had to say goodbye to a very special woman this past week. Mrs. Eunice Hayes Henig went to be with the Lord on Thursday, February 4, 2016. She was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, friend and woman of God who lived a wonderful life for 93 years. She was a sweet Southern belle, who caught the eye of a talented furrier, and gave her continued support through her faith, loyalty, and services for many years, that has made Henig Furs the successful business it is today.
In 1920, Henig Furs opened in New York City. Max Henig emigrated from Romania three years earlier and brought to America his expertise in fur manufacturing, a skill he learned from his father in Europe. Max sewed every fur by hand, a tradition passed down to his son, John Henig Sr., who joined the family business.
During World War II, John was stationed in Fort Benning, Ga., where he met and fell in love with a young lady named Eunice Hayes from Florala, Ala. The two married in 1946. Eunice preferred to be near her Southern roots, so rather than bring his new wife North; John decided to bring his father’s fur trade South and opened the fur department at Montgomery Fair. Their love story began what would become the largest fur company in the Southeast and one of the biggest in the nation.
In 1950, the Henig label made its debut at Miller’s Fashion Specialty stores and was also associated with Danziger’s. In 1977, his son Mike, the fourth generation of Henig furriers, became a partner, and the two expanded the business through wholesale manufacturing and leased departments in stores across the country. They also began opening their own stores and today have more than 30 locations throughout the Southeast, including salons in Belk’s department stores.
Advertising, online shopping at henigfurs.com, and the addition of two to four locations each year have made Henig a household name. However, this tremendously successful company is still family-owned and operates on its founding principles of quality, selection and customer service. Mike and his wife Jenny Lynn’s three children have always been involved in the family business, which continues Henig Furs Inc. as a family business for five generations.
Mrs. Eunice Hayes Henig was the matriarch of both her own family and the Henig Furs Family. She was an officer of Henig Furs, a major supporter of the fur industry and was a beautiful model for many years for fur products.
Mrs. Henig attended Howard College, now Samford University, in Birmingham, AL. She served on the Baptist Health Care Foundation Board for twenty years. She was a member of the Alabama Shakespeare FestivalPanier Society, AUM President’s Advisory Committee, Garden Club, Bridge Club and Athenian Club. She was a lifelong member of Cloverdale Baptist Church and recently became a member of First Baptist Church.
Eunice is preceded in death by: her mother and father Mr. and Mrs. Hillary Griffin Hayes, Sr. (Mary Owens Hayes); older sister Myrtle Hayes Synco and Carola Hayes; her late husband John Alec Henig, Sr.
She is survived by: her brother Hillary Griffin Hayes, Jr. (Gayle); her three sons: John Alec Henig, Jr. (Diane), Thomas Hayes Henig (Marlene) and Michael David Henig, Sr. (Jenny Lynn); her grandchildren: John Alec Henig III (Julia), Britton Pollard Henig, Sr. (Lindsey), Jennifer Henig Trott (Bobby), Heath Van Henig (Meghan), Hillary Henig Cole (Wesley), Cecilia Hughes, Jessica Henig Coblentz (Matthew), Alex Henig Jones (Colin) and Michael David Henig, Jr. (Alexia); her great-grandchildren: Johnny and Hayes Henig, Pollard, Penn and Camille Henig, Barnes, Emilyn and Harrison Trott, Mary Clark and Jane Henig, Matthew, Tyler and Hughes Cole, David and Jack Coblentz, Adeline and Maddox Jones and Finleigh Henig.
Eunice was so graciously cared for by Gracie Alexander and Verlia Brothers.
She will be greatly missed by family, friends and the fur industry in which she loved.