Dr. Henry Gradillas was born August 4, 1934 in Santa Barbara California. His father was a boxer and miner born in Douglas, AZ and his mother was a homemaker born in Chihuahua, MX. Henry grew up in the Barrios of East L. A. California. Because he spoke only Spanish as a child he flunked kindergarten. He quickly learned the English language and was able to continue his schooling with great success.
He went to elementary school at Murchinson Street, andJr. High at Belvedere, both in East L.A.. He graduated Roosevelt High School where he had been very active in ROTC and achieved the highest honor – All City Cadet Colonel. He attended UC Davis where he graduated with a BS in Agronomy. At age 50 he returned to college and received his Doctorate in Education Specializing in Secondary Curriculum from BYU.
In 1971 he married Stephanie Crum and adopted her son Erik. They had two biological children, Sara and Mike. In 1991 his son Erik was killed in a car accident. He lost his wife, Stephanie, to a long illness in 1995. In 1997 he married Gayle, a family friend he had known for many years. She brought three children to the marriage, Kristin and Devin, both biological children and Allen her adopted son. Between them they now have 4 grandchildren that bring him much joy- and a chance to teach them something new every time they are together. Abigayle Danielle Hanson joined the family as the fourth grandchild Sunday November 14, 2010
Henry is best known for his role in the success of Jamie Escalante, the teacher portrayed in the Movie “Stand and Deliver.” However this is just one thing in a long list of his achievements.