Henry Dontanville, fourth of seven children of Wallace Dontanville and Josephine Elbert, was born in Pasadena August 15, 1886.He attended Franklin School, (then Lincoln School). As a boy he assisted his father with the family's dairy operation, delivering milk by horse and wagon in northwest Pasadena. Ladling it out from a huge milk can, he would sell it for five cents a quart.
During World War I, Henry served in the United States Army in Europe. He was seriously wounded in action. He lost one eye, bore a silver plate in his head, and sustained other injuries. As he was buffeted from hospital to hospital, Army doctors lost track of him and gave him up for dead. In October 1918 his parents received word from the Adjutant General that he had been killed in action. Henry lived to return to Pasadena and enjoy a full life.
Like his older brother Wallace, Henry had a keen interest in road building. In 1919 he joined the engineering staff of Los Angeles County as foreman on in-house construction and later as an inspector on contractor awarded road construction projects. One of his notable assignments was supervision of the original grading operations for Los Angeles Crest Highway, constructed in the late 1930s.
Following the death of his parents in the early 1930s, Henry continued to live in the family home on Rosemont Avenue. In 1933, at the age of 47, he married Sophia Krossman, a native of Indiana, who came to Southern California in 1929 with her daughter by a previous marriage.
Henry retired from the Los Angeles County Highway Department in 1952 following 33 years of service. He continued to be an active member of the Alumni Branch of the Los Angeles County Employees Association. Henry and Sophia continued to occupy the home on Rosemont Avenue. Henry died November 26, 1963. Following his death, Sophia remodeled the old Dontanville home. She eventually remarried, and and later divorced. She moved to Bellingham, Washington where she died on December 29, 1995.