By Chris Mayhew
The Cincinnati Enquirer
CRESTVIEW HILLS - Henry August Stark worked wonders with wood since he became an apprentice carpenter at 16.
Mr. Stark died Saturday at the home he built in Crestview Hills. He was 104.
Local union officials have not been able to establish that Mr. Stark was the oldest member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, but he has been an active member since 1916. His membership was in Union Local 698 of Northern Kentucky.
"One of the first things he did after his apprenticeship at OMI (Ohio Mechanic Institute) was help in the construction of Holmes High School in Covington," said a niece, Mary Hunter Ellis of Lakeside Park.
She said he helped dismantle the Holmes Castle on the school site, saving many of the decorative wood parts of the building.
"Even at 20 years old, he recognized the value of the ornate craftsmanship," his niece said.
After retirement, "Uncle Henry" spent time in his basement workshop making clocks, candlestick holders, breadboards and tables. Some items went to family and friends, but many he donated to Redwood School & Rehabilitation Center in Fort Mitchell to raise money in auctions.
"He never sold his work," his niece said.
Mr. Stark once built a card table out of 1,800 pieces of wood, said a nephew, C.J. "Mac" Heidrich of Fort Wright.
"He was the very top of the line," said Heidrich, who is a union carpenter and was mentored by Mr. Stark. "When he started, they used to build the window sash and everything."
Mr. Stark was on the board of Kentucky Federal Savings & Loan for 50 years, having only recently resigned as a director.
His wife, Matilda Deye Stark, died in 1977.
Other survivors include two sisters, Dorothy Stark Nageleisen of Latonia and Ruth Stark Hunter of Erlanger; his sister-in-law, Mary Frances Stark of Park Hills; and more than 100 nieces and nephews and great-nieces and -nephews.
Visitation will be 4-6:45 p.m. and Mass of Christian burial 7 p.m. Friday at St. Pius X Church, 348 Dudley Road, Edgewood. Burial will be in Mother of God Cemetery in Fort Wright. Memorials: Redwood School & Rehabilitation Center, 71 Orphanage Road, Fort Mitchell, KY 41017.
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