Alumni Profile - Henry Absher '62

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Fraternity experience is woven into out past, present and future...

Henry Absher ‘62 says he “joined Sigma Phi Epsilon because it seemed like a group of guys with whom I had a lot in common.” 

“For the most part, as it turned out, that was true,” he continues. “Coming to Carolina from a small town, I think the fraternity helped me to mature a great deal. I had a great fraternity experience living and socializing with my brothers.”

Absher served the chapter as comptroller during his junior year, and then as president his senior year. The chapter sweetheart, Sarah, is now his wife of 55+ years (and several brothers were groomsmen in their post-graduation wedding!).

Some of Absher’s best memories?

“…O.B. Bynum and his great meals and big smile, serenading girlfriends at other nearby campuses; the greased pig the pledges put in the basement one night; the hayride through Dook’s campus singing songs, the lyrics of which aren’t appropriate for this publication; and moving into apartments our senior year so the chapter house could be remodeled.”

Now, Absher still keeps in touch with several of his brothers, mostly through emails and Facebook, with occasional face-to-face meetings, including Joe Pool, Doug Squillario, Clark Smith and Frank Biggerstaff. He also still keeps in touch with his old roommate, Lou Starr, from time to time.

After graduating, Absher went on to work for Haskins & Sells (now Deloitte LLP), the international accounting and consulting firm, in their Charlotte office. He became a partner in the firm in 1974; moved to Hickory, North Carolina, in 1975 to open a small office for the firm; and then transferred to the Atlanta office in 1978. He took an early retirement in 1991, and he says he has “enjoyed it immensely.”

One of Absher’s post-graduation hobbies has been traveling, and he certainly has the passport stamps to show for it! “While still working, we took a number of trips overseas, some business-related, some not,” he says. “We have enjoyed trips to Great Britain, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and down the Danube from Vienna to Istanbul, with stops in those countries along the river which were still under communist rule (very interesting). In the other direction, we have visited Taiwan, Hong Kong and a daytrip into China.”

Though retired, when he’s not traveling, Absher still keeps plenty busy. “In retirement, I continued to volunteer with the Southern Center for International Studies and the British-American Business Group for a number of years and helped my British friends in Atlanta raise money to bring their teams to Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games. Some of those highlights included dinner with HRH Princess Anne, a fundraiser on the royal yacht Britannia while docked in Savannah and numerous other fundraisers. We both are active in our church and deliver Meals on Wheels from time to time.”

“About 20 years ago we built a second home at Haig Point on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina,” he continues, “where we now spend about 40 percent of our time on that wonderful island without a bridge. It has become a great place for family gatherings, visits with friends and special occasions. I started playing a little golf there after not playing since I was a teenager – [I’m] still not any good but enjoy playing ‘social’ golf on a great Rees Jones-designed course.”

Absher often returns to Chapel Hill for football and basketball games, as a season ticket holder. These trips often provide opportunities to reconnect with old friends. He also supports the University with an endowment in the Kenan-Flagler Business School, to provide supplement funds for use by accounting professors.

Absher has a son, daughter and two granddaughters – one of which graduated from Elon University two years ago and the other who will graduate from Auburn in May. He says he “thoroughly enjoy[s] the time we spend with our children, their spouses and the granddaughters who, like all grandchildren, are perfect!”