Charles was born Nov. 5, 1918, in his family home in Hendricksville, Ind., to Frederick H. and Myrtle Sparks Hendricks. On Feb. 6, 1939, he married H. Ilene Hamilton, who died in 2007 after their 68 years of marriage.
As a 1918 baby, Charles survived the flu pandemic of that year and lived the hard life of the World War I and Depression eras on the family's rural land on a Greene County hillside on Indiana 43, picking strawberries for a half cent a quart as a boy. He was the grandson of a blacksmith, William Hendricks, who made metal hand plows, first designed to follow horses. Those plows are now collector's items.
As a pre-teen, Charles began working in his father's garage in Bloomington. That early experience led him to a career as a mechanic, nearly 40 years of which he spent working for Rogers Group, both in the shop on Adams Street and on road jobs. His specialty was diesel engines on gigantic earthmovers and other construction equipment. Charles cherished his years at Rogers and knowing its namesake, Ralph Rogers, with whom he worked personally on many occasions. Charles was a retired member of International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 841. Before Rogers, he had worked at Full-O-Pep.
In retirement, Charles and his late wife, Ilene, enjoyed eating often at Shawnee Trail Café near Bloomfield, operated at the time by his son, Ron Hendricks; grandson, Doug Hendricks, and his wife, Teresa; and former daughter-in-law, Cathy J. Hendricks.
Charles was a 1936 graduate of Solsberry High School and had been one of three final survivors from that class.
Preceding Charles in death were his parents; his wife, H. Ilene Hamilton Hendricks; his sister, Naomi Abram of Greene County; his brother, Rex Hendricks of Bloomington; a brother lost in infancy, Wendell H. Hendricks; his in-laws, Jasper and Naomi Hamilton of Bloomington; brothers-in-law, Winfred Abram of Greene County and Waldo Hamilton of Bloomington; and countless other relatives and friends.
Charles is survived by two sons, Ron Hendricks of Bloomfield and Merv Hendricks and wife, Cathy Goodall Hendricks, of Terre Haute; a sister, Lena Hendricks of Bloomington; seven grandchildren, Mike Hendricks and wife, Patty, Ken Hendricks and wife, Margo, Jim Hendricks and Tim Hendricks all of California, Doug Hendricks and wife, Teresa, of Arizona, Andy Hendricks and wife, Vickie, of Mooresville, Ind., and Emily Hendricks Turnier and husband, Justin, of Indianapolis; 10 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; a former daughter-in-law, Cathy J. Hendricks of Bloomington; a sister-in-law, Martha Sue Hendricks of Bloomington; a brother-in-law, Elmer Hamilton of West Lafayette; several nieces, nephews and cousins; and special friends, including high school classmate Lowell "Pete" Osborne and his wife, Anise, of Ellettsville, and Rose Kerr, his in-home caregiver, neighbor and good friend.
Charles was a member of Liberty Church of Christ in Hendricksville and had earlier been a member of Indiana Avenue and Highland Village Churches of Christ in Bloomington.
Visitation is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Deremiah Frye Mortuary in Bloomington. Funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Liberty Church of Christ, Hendricksville, with Brother Keevin Gray officiating. Burial will be in Valhalla Cemetery in Bloomington.
The family requests in lieu of flowers, those who wish may donate to the American Heart Association or American Lung Association.
The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Garden Villa Rehabilitation Center in Bloomington; the nurses and doctors at IU Health Bloomington Hospital; Dr. Eric Bannec and his staff; the nurses and doctors at Methodist Hospital; and the family and friends who offered love, faith and support during Charles' final days, especially his sister, Lena Hendricks, his niece, Erma Abram, and his sister-in-law, Martha Sue Hendricks, the three of whom visited him as frequently as weekly and brought him many smiles and satisfactions.