Henry’s parents immigrated to North America from Germany, landing in Canada. They lived in Canada during WWI, and after the war, they returned to Germany. Because they had been in North America during WWI, they were not well received back in the homeland. Henry’s family again returned to Canada, and then when Henry was 2 years old, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan. Henry was born on July 4, 1916 in Canada, and was the youngest of 10 children. Henry, his brother Adam, and sister, Grace, were the only children in his family that reached adulthood. Henry lost his 7 other siblings when they were victimized by a tragic flu epidemic.
Although Henry and his two remaining siblings reached adulthood, it wasn’t without incidence, as Henry’s brother, Adam, was afflicted with a severe case of mental retardation following an unexpected collision with an automobile at a very young age. Adam suffered with his mental deficit for 72 years, which no doubt was a hindrance and emotional strain for the family.
Henry was raised in a very poor home. Henry’s father was a day worker at a nearby meat packing plant operating a sausage-making machine, and making thirty-five cents an hour. This was decent money at the time; nonetheless, Henry was raised in a substandard environment. Oddly enough, Henry’s father aspired for Henry to follow in his footsteps by running the same sausage-making machine at the packing plant.
Although Henry tried to live up to his father’s goals for him by working briefly in the plant, he felt a stronger calling on his life. As you will begin to see, God had other plans in store for Henry. Many of those plans will soon unfold as we unveil the multi-faceted life of Henry Brandt.
Henry’s mother would contribute to the family’s meager income by taking in laundries and cleaning vacated homes for a nearby property owner. The owner of the property was a member of Henry’s church, and he offered Henry’s mother a job cleaning his vacated homes when tenants would move out, which happened rather frequently. The property spanned a two-block area, but his mother enjoyed having the opportunity to work and contribute to the family’s income. His mother enjoyed life, and was a wonderful example of a happy Christian, regardless of the type of work she performed. She would take Henry along with her as she worked, which would instill in Henry, the principle found in the Word which says, “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11. Henry hated tagging along with his mother, but the example she set for him was eternal.