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Edwards Funeral Home

201 North 12th Street, Fort Smith, AR

OBITUARY

B.G. Hendrix

December 16, 1922March 21, 2020

B.G. Hendrix, 97 years old – Born December 16, 1922 in Jenny Lind, Arkansas. Passed away on March 21, 2020 at Pink Bud Nursing Home, Greenwood, AR. Raised in Sebastian County and graduated from Winslow High School, he attended Tulsa University on a basketball scholarship.

Hendrix is a 33rd degree Mason and past Monarch of Amerita Grotto and a Shriner. A member of the Amvets Fort Smith Post, past Commander and State Surgeon General. Recognized in 2016 for 70 years of continuous membership in the American Legion Post 31.

Served in the United States Coast Guard in WWII aboard a destroyer escort. Was injured when his ship was struck by a torpedo and he remained in the Marine hospital in Maryland for 4 months recovering from injuries. He always said can you imagine the anxiety of my mother with her three sons serving the same time in the war, all three were injured.

Mr. Hendrix is a licensed funeral director, a consultant with the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District and licensed in real estate and insurance. He was volunteer chairman of the AARP legislative committee.

B.G. Hendrix probably spent more years in public service than anyone in Western Arkansas. Served two years on the Quorum Court, four years as county coroner, and six weeks as sheriff when the incumbent died. 34 years as a state representative and as Speaker of the House, 1989-90 in the 77th General Assembly. He served several days as Governor when both the Governor and Lt. Governor were out of the State. Was appointed Sheriff for six weeks following the death of the current Sheriff until a new one was appointed by the Governor. As Speaker of the House, he was chosen to represent other State Speakers in Taiwan at the Inauguration of the President of the Republic of China.

Mr. Hendrix became a member of the State House in 1963 and served as chairman of the House Transportation Committee, vice chair of the Select House Management Committee and Vice Chair of the Select Joint Budget Committee. Previously served as Speaker Pro Tem of the House. Former Chairman and long-term member of the Legislative Council. Also served on the Oil and Gas, Rivers and Harbors, Correction and Parole Institution, four years as majority leader. Hendrix served as State Chairman AARP Legislative committee, Vice Chairman House Management, House Insurance and Commerce Committee, Legislative Council Review Committee, Legislative Council Administrative Rules and Regulations Committee.

Served as member of the Environmental and Natural Resources Subcommittee of the Arkansas-Oklahoma River Compact Commission, Legislative member of the U.S. Department of Transportation Rural and Mass Transit Committee, Chairman National sub-Committee on Corrections, and Chairman Southern Transportation Committee. Former Sebastian County Civil Defense Coordinator and Advisory Committee to State Civil Defense.

Hendrix was active in regional and national legislative affairs and former chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference Transportation Committee. He was a charter commissioner of the Education Commission of the States and member of the Transportation and Communications Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures State-Federal Assembly. He also served on the six-member Council of State Governments Advisory Committee on Rural Public Transportation. • Sponsored legislation that gave the voters the right to levy a countywide sales tax to pay for city and county improvements. • Obtained property for the Boy Scout Camp in Booneville. • Secured funding for the State office building in Fort Smith, now the B.G. Hendrix building. • Secured appropriation for the Arkansas/Oklahoma State Fair. • Secured air conditioning for the Lincoln Day Care Center. • Authored law creating a prison industry program, saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. • Secured a fire truck for a rural fire department. • Secured funding for a building on the UA Fort Smith campus. • Secured the first computer donated by the state for the UA Fort Smith campus. • Helped create the Arkansas Health Education Center to train doctors and provide medical services for the underserved. • Promoted adult education and the GED diploma for high school dropouts. • Secured Federal funding for the Lake Fort Smith State Park and Devils Den. Lake Fort Smith Park would not be what it is today had he not convinced the State to take it over and secure the funds. • Sponsored legislation to permit Whirlpool and Pernod Ricard USA to locate in Fort Smith bringing thousands of jobs and payrolls. • Sponsored legislation to develop a regional water supply. • Created the Silver Haired Legislature giving senior citizens a forum in Little Rock. • Sponsored the opening of the state worker’s compensation office in Fort Smith. • Sponsored legislation to allow UA Fort Smith to grant 4-year degrees. • Led the fight to establish the boot camp for first-time offenders. • Secured the start-up funding for the Fountain of Youth Day Care. • Secured $6 million for Scott County water supply development. • Secured funding for the golf course at Ben Geren Regional Park. • Sponsored legislation to have matching funds to promote tourism. • Sponsored funding which benefited county and municipal law enforcement. • Sponsored legislation to have the white stripe applied on the side of paved two-lane roads: saving many lives over the years. • Initiated the legislation to establish the oil and gas office in Fort Smith.

These are just a few of the programs and legislation initiated by B.G to assist the citizens and provide a better quality of life. You know he would never talk about these things and was never one to “toot his own horn.” He stated onetime “the best way to exercise your heart is to reach down and pick someone up.” This was his modus operandi throughout his many years of service. His hobby and passion were helping people throughout the state when they had nowhere else to turn for help. He wanted to make Arkansas a better more prosperous state for its citizens and was his lifelong work as he continued to have an office in downtown Fort Smith until his death. Many citizens continued to stop by his office to visit and even still asked for help.

Preceded in death by his wife, Janis; and brothers, Dotson, PC and Jerry Hendrix; and his parents, Bert and Thelma Hendrix; brothers and sisters in law, Gene and Kitty Bookhammer and Bill and Kitty Williams.

Survived by two children, Dan Hendrix and wife Marilyn of Fayetteville, AR and Robin Von Hemel and husband Donnie of Piedmont OK; five grandchildren, Danny Hendrix of Fayetteville, AR, Kristen Henbest and husband Dr. Barry Henbest of Rogers, AR, Evan Hendrix of Fayetteville, AR, Ann Smith and husband Eric Smith of Franklin, TN and Tess Von Hemel of Piedmont, OK; seven great grandchildren; and his friends, the Hopkins family. Leaving behind sister in law, Barbara Hendrix; and nieces and nephews in Arkansas and Delaware.

Lifelong member of First Methodist Church, Fort Smith Rodeo Fair Board emeritus member Established the first ambulance service in Fort Smith, Twin City Ambulance Company Member of Hope Center Board of Directors Member Sebastian County Red Cross Former Vice Chairman March of Dimes Recipient of Fort Smith Superior Senior Citizen Award Member Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce Member Fort Smith Boy’s Club Board member Good Samaritan Committee Board member Project Compassion Awarded President’s Volunteer Service Award Awarded President’s Call to Service Award

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Clubs, Amvets Fort Smith Post or American Legion Post 31, or charity of your choice.

In order to protect the health of his many friends and family during this health crises, a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Services are entrusted to Edwards Funeral Home. Online condolences may be sent to www.edwardsfuneralhome.com

  • FAMILY

  • Janis Hendrix, Wife (deceased)
  • Robin Von Hemel and husband Donnie, Daughter
  • Dan Hendrix and wife Marilyn, Son
  • Bert and Thelma Hendrix, Parents (deceased)
  • Dotson Hendrix, Brother (deceased)
  • PC Hendrix, Brother (deceased)
  • Jerry Hendrix, Brother (deceased)
  • Barbara Hendrix, Sister-in-law
  • Gene Bookhammer and wife Kitty, Brother (deceased)
  • Bill Williams and wife Kitty, Brother (deceased)
  • Danny Hendrix, Grandchild
  • Kristen Henbest and husband Dr. Barry Henbest, Grandchild
  • Evan Hendrix, Grandchild
  • Ann Smith and husband Eric, Grandchild
  • Tess Von Hemel, Grandchild
  • B.G. is also survived by his seven great grandchildren and his friends, the Hopkins family, and his nieces and nephews in Arkansas and Delaware.
  • DONATIONS

  • Fort Smith Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Amvets Fort Smith Post
  • American Legion Post 31
  • Charity of your choice.

Services

  • A Memorial Service will be at a later date

Memories

B.G. Hendrix

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Larry and Juanita Lowder

March 29, 2020

Please accept our heartfelt condolences. B.G. was a wonderful man and friend. Keeping the family in our prayers.

Gene McVay

March 28, 2020

Words are inadequate to describe what BG meant to me and to America. He was the most compassionate, honest and loving person I ever knew and would give you the shirt off his back.

The last time I talked to BG was when he called me and asked to meet for coffee and visit at The American Legion Post. When I was Fort Smith Post Commander, I gave him a certificate for 60 years service in the Legion. Later, in 2016, he was awarded one for 70 years.

BG was proud of his World War II service and his service as Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representative. When my son-in-law's brother became Speaker, I recommended he get advice from BG. I don't know if that happened.

I pray for peace that exceeds all understanding for BG's friends and family.

John Hendrick

March 24, 2020

B.G. was a beloved member of The American Legion Post 31 longer than any other member...73 years...but he will be missed for the gentle demeanor he always exhibited!
John Hendrick
Commander
Ellig-Stoufer Post 31

Lacy Newman Humphreys

March 24, 2020

I am so sad to learn of the passing of a true gentleman, Beagle, as my father always fondly called him.
My dad and Mr. Hendrix served together for 30 years in the Arkansas House of Representatives, where they became fast friends. My dad was a statesman; therefore, I know he chose only the best of the best in which to surround himself. With that said, not only did my dad trust Mr. Hendrix’s advice and friendship, but he also knew he was a man of great integrity.
Mr. Hendrix had a positive influence on my life and the lives of my children, especially Tanner. I would seriously like to know how many hours my son, Tanner, spent in his lap, as a child in the House chamber. He would be proud of Tanner, as he will graduate from pharmacy school this May. I can think of no other person I would have preferred to influence Tanner’s life!!
I offer my condolences, prayers, and sympathy to the family and friends of B. G. Hendrix. ❤️

Kim Bercher

March 24, 2020

There was never a better person than BG. He was just simply a good guy all his life.

Barbara Smith

March 23, 2020

I was one of southwestern bell operators at the old switchboard outside the house in the 80’s. Mr Hendrix always had time to answer questions for us. Ready with a smile and a quip whenever I delivered a constituents message. Prayers for his family.

Charlotte White

March 22, 2020

I lived next door to B.G. and Jan when I was in Junior high. He would let me ride his horse Neck Tie. Wonderful family. I use to run into him occasionally and he was always so kind. He will be missed. My prayers for Dan and Robin.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

B.G. Hendrix, 97 years old – Born December 16, 1922 in Jenny Lind, Arkansas. Passed away on March 21, 2020 at Pink Bud Nursing Home, Greenwood, AR. Raised in Sebastian County and graduated from Winslow High School, he attended Tulsa University on a basketball scholarship.

Hendrix is a 33rd degree Mason and past Monarch of Amerita Grotto and a Shriner. A member of the Amvets Fort Smith Post, past Commander and State Surgeon General. Recognized in 2016 for 70 years of continuous membership in the American Legion Post 31.

Served in the United States Coast Guard in WWII aboard a destroyer escort. Was injured when his ship was struck by a torpedo and he remained in the Marine hospital in Maryland for 4 months recovering from injuries. He always said can you imagine the anxiety of my mother with her three sons serving the same time in the war, all three were injured.

Mr. Hendrix is a licensed funeral director, a consultant with the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District and licensed in real estate and insurance. He was volunteer chairman of the AARP legislative committee.

B.G. Hendrix probably spent more years in public service than anyone in Western Arkansas. Served two years on the Quorum Court, four years as county coroner, and six weeks as sheriff when the incumbent died. 34 years as a state representative and as Speaker of the House, 1989-90 in the 77th General Assembly. He served several days as Governor when both the Governor and Lt. Governor were out of the State. Was appointed Sheriff for six weeks following the death of the current Sheriff until a new one was appointed by the Governor. As Speaker of the House, he was chosen to represent other State Speakers in Taiwan at the Inauguration of the President of the Republic of China.

Mr. Hendrix became a member of the State House in 1963 and served as chairman of the House Transportation Committee, vice chair of the Select House Management Committee and Vice Chair of the Select Joint Budget Committee. Previously served as Speaker Pro Tem of the House. Former Chairman and long-term member of the Legislative Council. Also served on the Oil and Gas, Rivers and Harbors, Correction and Parole Institution, four years as majority leader. Hendrix served as State Chairman AARP Legislative committee, Vice Chairman House Management, House Insurance and Commerce Committee, Legislative Council Review Committee, Legislative Council Administrative Rules and Regulations Committee.

Served as member of the Environmental and Natural Resources Subcommittee of the Arkansas-Oklahoma River Compact Commission, Legislative member of the U.S. Department of Transportation Rural and Mass Transit Committee, Chairman National sub-Committee on Corrections, and Chairman Southern Transportation Committee. Former Sebastian County Civil Defense Coordinator and Advisory Committee to State Civil Defense.

Hendrix was active in regional and national legislative affairs and former chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference Transportation Committee. He was a charter commissioner of the Education Commission of the States and member of the Transportation and Communications Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures State-Federal Assembly. He also served on the six-member Council of State Governments Advisory Committee on Rural Public Transportation.
• Sponsored legislation that gave the voters the right to levy a countywide sales tax to pay for city and county improvements.
• Obtained property for the Boy Scout Camp in Booneville.
• Secured funding for the State office building in Fort Smith, now the B.G. Hendrix building.
• Secured appropriation for the Arkansas/Oklahoma State Fair.
• Secured air conditioning for the Lincoln Day Care Center.
• Authored law creating a prison industry program, saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
• Secured a fire truck for a rural fire department.
• Secured funding for a building on the UA Fort Smith campus.
• Secured the first computer donated by the state for the UA Fort Smith campus.
• Helped create the Arkansas Health Education Center to train doctors and provide medical services for the underserved.
• Promoted adult education and the GED diploma for high school dropouts.
• Secured Federal funding for the Lake Fort Smith State Park and Devils Den. Lake Fort Smith Park would not be what it is today had he not convinced the State to take it over and secure the funds.
• Sponsored legislation to permit Whirlpool and Pernod Ricard USA to locate in Fort Smith bringing thousands of jobs and payrolls.
• Sponsored legislation to develop a regional water supply.
• Created the Silver Haired Legislature giving senior citizens a forum in Little Rock.
• Sponsored the opening of the state worker’s compensation office in Fort Smith.
• Sponsored legislation to allow UA Fort Smith to grant 4-year degrees.
• Led the fight to establish the boot camp for first-time offenders.
• Secured the start-up funding for the Fountain of Youth Day Care.
• Secured $6 million for Scott County water supply development.
• Secured funding for the golf course at Ben Geren Regional Park.
• Sponsored legislation to have matching funds to promote tourism.
• Sponsored funding which benefited county and municipal law enforcement.
• Sponsored legislation to have the white stripe applied on the side of paved two-lane roads: saving many lives over the years.
• Initiated the legislation to establish the oil and gas office in Fort Smith.

These are just a few of the programs and legislation initiated by B.G to assist the citizens and provide a better quality of life. You know he would never talk about these things and was never one to “toot his own horn.” He stated onetime “the best way to exercise your heart is to reach down and pick someone up.” This was his modus operandi throughout his many years of service. His hobby and passion were helping people throughout the state when they had nowhere else to turn for help. He wanted to make Arkansas a better more prosperous state for its citizens and was his lifelong work as he continued to have an office in downtown Fort Smith until his death. Many citizens continued to stop by his office to visit and even still asked for help.

Preceded in death by his wife, Janis; and brothers, Dotson, PC and Jerry Hendrix; and his parents, Bert and Thelma Hendrix; brothers and sisters in law, Gene and Kitty Bookhammer and Bill and Kitty Williams.

Survived by two children, Dan Hendrix and wife Marilyn of Fayetteville, AR and Robin Von Hemel and husband Donnie of Piedmont OK; five grandchildren, Danny Hendrix of Fayetteville, AR, Kristen Henbest and husband Dr. Barry Henbest of Rogers, AR, Evan Hendrix of Fayetteville, AR, Ann Smith and husband Eric Smith of Franklin, TN and Tess Von Hemel of Piedmont, OK; seven great grandchildren; and his friends, the Hopkins family. Leaving behind sister in law, Barbara Hendrix; and nieces and nephews in Arkansas and Delaware.

Lifelong member of First Methodist Church, Fort Smith
Rodeo Fair Board emeritus member
Established the first ambulance service in Fort Smith, Twin City Ambulance Company
Member of Hope Center Board of Directors
Member Sebastian County Red Cross
Former Vice Chairman March of Dimes
Recipient of Fort Smith Superior Senior Citizen Award
Member Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce
Member Fort Smith Boy’s Club
Board member Good Samaritan Committee
Board member Project Compassion
Awarded President’s Volunteer Service Award
Awarded President’s Call to Service Award

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Clubs, Amvets Fort Smith Post or American Legion Post 31, or charity of your choice.

In order to protect the health of his many friends and family during this health crises, a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Services are entrusted to Edwards Funeral Home. Online condolences may be sent to www.edwardsfuneralhome.com