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Life Story / Obituary
With a friendly smile and a welcoming heart, Stanley Jay Hendricks lived a life rich in family and friends. Stanley was a man who embraced each day as a gift and every person as a friend. Whether gathering with family, neighbors, or coworkers, Stanley inspired connection and fellowship. He rooted himself in an unwavering devotion to his family and always giving his utmost and ensuring their good care. Husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Stanley was cherished by those he loved. He will long be remembered and ever so missed.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression and the growing conflict in Europe, many families found the way to continue to center their lives in love and hope for a brighter future. Nowhere was that hope more evident than in the Grand Rapids, Michigan home of Russell John and Esther Louise (Bennett) Hendricks as they welcomed their son Stanley into their family on October 1, 1936.
The Hendricks, only child, Stanley grew up on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids and attended Palmer Elementary School. During his teen years, Stanley’s parents divorced, leaving an enormous impact on him. His first jobs included working as a caddy for the Kent Country Club, setting pins at Northfield Bowling, and making burgers at Mr. Fables.
After graduating from Creston High with the class of 1954, Stanley pursued higher education at Davenport College, where he earned his Associate’s Degree in accounting. While working on his degree, Stanley worked at the Gulf gas station on Jefferson. One of the services the gas station offered the community was parking space rental. One of the spaces was rented by an employee of the Grand Rapids Herald. She and her coworker, Helen Townsend, would regularly chat with Stanley. Though Helen made many efforts to set Stanley up with her friend Dorothy, Stanley only had eyes for Helen. In time, Helen “relented” and agreed to go out on a date with Stanley. A year and a half later, the couple married on August 10, 1956, at Second Congregational Church. After celebrating their marriage with a weekend honeymoon, the newlyweds returned home and readied for work on Monday morning.
Stanley worked in the office at Elston Richards Storage, while Helen continued her work at the Herald. They began their marriage in a rented upstairs apartment on the Southeast side of the city, eventually purchasing their first home on Whitmore NW. In time, they purchased settled in a home on Mission Northwest. Everywhere they lived, they became good friends with their neighbors. Stanley thoroughly loved people and naturally drew them together.
Blessed to welcome three children into their family, Russ, Lori, and Steven, quickly became the centers of Stanley and Helen’s lives. In full support of Helen raising the kids full-time, Stanley poured himself into his work. He dedicated himself to providing a loving and supportive home for his family and ensuring his children had the means to pursue their endeavors. Having witnessed the negative impact of his mother outearning his father, he willingly worked two jobs, sometimes bartending at night at Leonard Heights, to help make ends meet. Even after he started his own accounting business, he continued to work a second job. Many days he would return home from working a full day in accounting, to eat supper and then return to his office by 6 pm for more appointments.
Despite having suffered a leg injury when he crashed his car into the police station, in his youth, Stanley rarely allowed the limitation to his mobility get in the way of enjoying life. He especially enjoyed playing his beloved game of golf, at Western Greens and the Elks. Lifelong members of the Elks, the family often enjoyed eating, swimming, and golfing at the club. Stanley was always up for playing a game of Poker or Setback or sharing some Jack Daniels while sitting on the deck with good company. Many great meals and wonderful memories were made while gathering with the DeGraafs, Doodys, McDonalds, Morenos, Launieres.
Stanley found pleasure in the simple things in life, like listening to Proud Mary or the classic tunes of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Though he only read the paper, he was a huge fan of Dale Earnhart St. Every Sunday, Stanley and Helen would meet with Don and De Doody to indulge in snacks, the race, and refreshing drinks, surrounded by Stanley’s vas Dale Sr. collectibles. Though he also cheered on the University of Michigan football team, everyone knew Helen was the real sports fan in the family. Stanley’s favorite meal was pork roast with mashed potatoes and gravy and homemade pumpkin pie for dessert, and every night was capped off with a pre-slumber dish of ice cream. Any flavor would do!
Clearly, family was what was most important to Stanley. As his children grew into adults and had families of their own, Stanley joyfully welcomed the gift of grandchildren. He took on his role as a grandfather with great pride and especially enjoyed welcoming his great-granddaughter, Libby, to the family. Libby instantly became the light of his life, and Stanley lit up whenever they were together. Nothing proved more fun than playing peek-a-boo or eating crackers with her.
Sadly, just a few weeks ago, Stanley was diagnosed with COVID-19. Unfortunately, it amplified his existing conditions and his body could not recover. It is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Stanley’s steadfast presence. While his smile and warmth will long be missed, the many ways he gifted our lives will long live in the hearts of those he loved. As we carry his legacy forward, we will find comfort in knowing that his legacy will continue to inspire others as he so inspired us.
Stanley J. Hendricks age 84, of Grand Rapids, passed away on December 10, 2020. Stanley is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Helen (Townsend); children, Russ (Linda) Hendricks, Lori Hendricks and Steven (Susan) Hendricks; grandchildren, Eric Hendricks, Austin (Melissa Zalman) Hendricks, Nicole (Mitchell) Elsey, Cody Crandell, and Alyssa, Ben and Nate Hendricks; and great-grandchild, Liberty. Also surviving are his sisters, Susan Nash and Joyce (Jack) Straayer; brother, John (Sally) Hendricks; brother-in-law, Terry (Carol) Brock of Naples, FL and several nieces and nephews. Stanley was the owner of Hendricks Accounting where he worked for over 20 years. Due to COVID restrictions, a private family memorial service will be held at the funeral home. Contributions in his memory may be made to Faith Hospice or Faith United Methodist Church. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Stanley’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo, or to sign the guestbook online.