Friends, family remember Masters

by PAULINA KARPIS | 11/29/09 11:00pm

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Henry Masters, a student at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical practice, passed away last week after testing positive for swine flu.

"Henry would have gone on to make a really big difference in the world," Elizabeth Beedy, a family friend who knew Masters since childhood, said. "He was really smart and he really wanted the world to be better."

Masters was raised in Medfield, Mass., and attended high school at Milton Academy. He was diagnosed with idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia and spent 17 days in the hospital during his senior year, according to Remembering Henry, a web site created by his family in his honor.

He loved animals, Beedy said, and took a gap year to work at a veterinary hospital before attending college.

Masters' experience working at the hospital inspired him to enroll at Franklin & Marshall as a pre-veterinarian student. He subsequently changed his major to scientific and philosophical studies of mind, according to the web site.

"He was very bright and very engaged, and he absolutely loved what he was doing intellectually in the classroom," Franklin & Marshall professor Bennett Helm told The Dartmouth. "He was also a down-to-earth guy and very kind and charming. He always knew how to make the rest of the class laugh in a way that would still focus the class."

His mother, Lucy Masters, praised his ability to inspire others.

"Henry was the person who made a group work better, who got people talking, and thinking, and laughing whether that was around the table or in a more formal setting," she said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth.

At Franklin & Marshall, Henry was active in his fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, Capuano said.

"One thing I take away is all of the effort he put into everything," Jeff Becker, a fellow member of Phi Kappa Tau, said. "He really knew how to get things done in the house. He taught me a lot about wiring, and he knew all about how to hook things up and how to get the house up to code."

Masters' academic passions were health and the environment. During an internship at a public defender's office, he constructed the arguments for two cases that won benefits for patients unable to advocate effectively for themselves, according to the Remembering Henry web site.

For 10 years, he volunteered at The Food Project, which promotes personal and social change through sustainable agriculture, according to Remembering Henry.

Masters loved music and sports, his mother said. He was often a spectator, but also played tennis and touch football.

Friends and family remembered his generosity and great sense of humor.

"He was outspoken about what he loved, which was public health and his family and politics," his Dartmouth roommate Brian Mitchell, who is to graduate with a master's of public health in June 2010, said. "He was really loyal, and he would do anything for you."

Mitchell said that when his grandmother passed away, Masters surprised him with his favorite kind of pizza.

"He was the kind of person that you always knew was in the room," Becker said. "He was the life of the party and had a great sense of humor."