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Ralph Hendricks, North Greenville Donor and Friend, Dies at Age 101

Tigerville, SC – (February 18, 2019) Dr. Ralph S. Hendricks, long-time donor to North Greenville University, died Sunday, February 17. He was 101.

“Ralph Hendricks loved students and loved matching his philanthropy with ways that provided them opportunities for the future,” said NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. “He provided scholarships for dozens of NGU graduates, supported NGU athletics, served our board with distinction and was a churchman without peer. We will miss his gentle spirit, his wit, and his incredible insights.”

Hendricks was born in Bowman, GA, April 27, 1917 and was the oldest of six children. Growing up during the Great Depression, the Hendricks family moved several times during his early childhood. He always said that one of the best decisions his father ever made was moving to South Carolina when Ralph was 15 years old.

Since he was the oldest child, he had to start work at a very early age to help support their family. Due to this fact, he never received much education, which resulted in Hendricks having a strong desire to encourage young people to get a good education before stepping out in the world to pursue their dreams. 

In 1939, his family moved to Fountain Inn, and in 1940, at the age of 23, Hendricks married Virginia Webb. In 1943, Hendricks entered World War II where he served in the U.S. Army for three years in the Panama Canal region.

After the war, Hendricks returned home safely and secured a job with his father-in-law, who was part-owner of a building supply operation in Simpsonville. In 1957, Hendricks’ father-in-law retired and gave him the opportunity to purchase his interest and become part-owner and manager of the building supply business. After many years of hard work, the business grew during the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, providing Hendricks the opportunity to expand his business interests by getting into land development, where he specialized in selling lots and building homes.

He donated land and money to build the Hendricks branch of the Greenville County library on Main Street in Simpsonville. He served on the boards of The Palmetto Bank and the Greenville Tech Foundation. He served on the board of trustees at NGU and Furman University and as a commissioner at ReWa.

In 1985, Hendricks’ first wife Virginia passed away suddenly but before her death, the couple had discussed and explored ways they could give back to the Lord by helping young people in the Simpsonville area. From this desire to help others, Hendricks decided to create the Ralph and Virginia Hendricks Foundation with the primary mission of providing college scholarships to young people.

In 1986, Mr. Hendricks married Marion Hubbard, and they have worked together on the foundation to make a difference for God’s kingdom and assist young people. In fact, the Hendricks Foundation has helped hundreds of students from Hillcrest High School and Woodmont High School with scholarships to attend Greenville Tech, Anderson University, Furman University, and NGU. 

According to Hendricks, one of the greatest joys in his life was to receive “thank you” notes from students that had benefitted from their scholarships.

In 2013, Hendricks was awarded the Order of the Silver Crescent Award from the South Carolina State Senate. The Order of the Silver Crescent is awarded to residents of South Carolina for excellent performance, contribution, and achievement within the community. It is the state's highest award for volunteer and community service. The SC Senate signed the proclamation in Hendricks’ honor on May 7, 2013, recognizing his service on the City Council in Simpsonville for nearly 15 years, including 12 years as mayor of Simpsonville.

In 1997, the Hendricks established the Hendricks/Hillcrest Scholarship at NGU, which provides tuition assistance for Hillcrest and Woodmont High School graduates. In 2005, NGU’s Hendricks Athletic Center was opened as a football operations center. In 2013, Hendricks was the recipient of NGU’s 2013 Board Leadership Award, given to a trustee whose support of NGU serves as an example to others. Also in 2013, the university awarded Hendricks an honorary Doctorate of Christian Leadership. 

Nearing his 102nd birthday, he was still was very active and enjoyed going to the office to take care of the day to day operations of his business, Hendricks Properties, Inc.

In addition to his wife, Marion, Hendricks is survived by their sons, Ted A. (Patti) Hubbard of Winston Salem, NC, and Kenneth (Eva) Hubbard of Simpsonville; grandchildren, Melissa Hubbard and her husband Joe Hundley, Stephanie Hubbard, Andrew (Jennifer) Hubbard, John (Victoria) Hubbard, and step-granddaughter, Megan Hubbard; great-grandchildren, Faith Hubbard, Mikayla Hubbard, and Eden Hubbard; one sister, Elizabeth Fowler; and many nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, February 19 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the Main Worship Center of First Baptist Church, Simpsonville.

A funeral service will be held in the Main Worship Center of First Baptist Church, Simpsonville on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Burial will follow in Cannon Memorial Park.

A wreath has been placed on the front door of the Dr. Ralph and Marion Hendricks Athletic Center on the Tigerville campus. Flags on both NGU campuses have been lowered to half-staff until after the funeral service. 

Photo: Dr. Ralph and Marion Hendricks at the dedication ceremony of the Hendricks Athletic Center in 2005.

         

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