The news came yesterday that James H. Hendrix had passed away at the age of 92. It was a sad day for us in District Two, the place Mr. Hendrix served as superintendent from 1957-1985. His 28 years leading the District is among the longest in the nation for that position in one place.
Each year, Mr. Hendrix attended our "James H. Hendrix Welcome Back!" breakfast convocation in which we begin the new school term with a time of being together with all 1,000 plus employees for breakfast, recognitions and encouragement. This past August, Mr. Hendrix made his way to his seat on the stage and the question was asked, "How many of you were hired during Mr. Hendrix's days here?" Probably close to a fifth of the crowd arose, and all applauded him with a standing ovation. His legacy of "Good old traditional District Two" continues here through the lives of those he led and inspired.
Mr. Hendrix was known as a gentle man, a man who loved his country, his family, his work and his God. Stories abound of his leadership style. He wanted to know who your family was before hiring you. Principals found teachers at their schools in August saying he had hired them and that the principal would tell them what to do. For the longest time, the district office consisted of a secretary, Bill Howell (instruction), Ray Ramsey (finance) and Mr. Hendrix. It was certainly a different time....
Seven years ago, Mr. Ramsey and I had lunch with Mr. Hendrix who regaled me with stories of the District ("If you ever consider consolidating Chesnee and Boiling Springs, don't do it!"). Thus began a friendship I have cherished over these years. We shared a common interest in coin collecting; I always looked for him at the annual spring Spartanburg Coin Show. When his wife became ill several years ago, he stood by her side to the very end; he did what all men should do. When she passed, some of the wind left his sails. Two times each year, the current Spartanburg County superintendents get together with all of those who have retired, and the respect for "Mr. Jim" among that group of distinguished leaders was marvelous. My predecessor, Dr. Buddy Jennings, referred to Mr. Hendrix rightfully as our "superintendent emeritus."
We will miss you, Mr. Hendrix. Rest in peace.