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Furman trustee, longtime supporter Ralph Hendricks dies at 101

Ralph Hendricks, a longtime member of the Furman University Board of Trustees and a towering figure in the Simpsonville community, died on Feb. 17 at the age of 101.

Hendricks joined the board in 1988 and was elected as an emeritus trustee in 2002. He funded a scholarship program for Furman students and, in 2000, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.

Ralph Hendricks and his wife, Marion, met with Furman students they helped support at the 2017 Partners Program luncheon held on campus.

Hendricks and his wife, Marion, were among the founding donors of the Partners Program at Furman and major supporters of Paladin athletics, as well as members of the Benefactors Circle, which recognizes donors who have given $1 million or more to the university.

Hendricks will be posthumously recognized as the recipient of the Honorary Alumni Award on Feb. 23 at the annual Bell Tower Ball.  The award honors individuals who are not graduates of Furman but who have made significant contributions to its welfare, reputation, prestige and pursuit of excellence.

“Ralph Hendricks was one of Furman’s most dedicated trustees,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis. “He was deeply involved in the life of the university for many years, and he was still regularly attending board meetings and other Furman events. It is faithful supporters like Ralph who have allowed the university to grow and prosper. He will be missed.”

A leader in both business and the community, Hendricks served as president of the Carolina Lumber Dealers Association, the Greenville Home Builders Association, the Simpsonville Chamber of Commerce and the Simpsonville Rotary. He was actively involved with Meals on Wheels, Miracle Hill, YMCA, the Salvation Army and the Boys Home of the South.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he was honored as Builder of the Year in 1986 and Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in 1988.  He served on the Simpsonville City Council for 13 years and as mayor of the city for 12 years.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, Feb. 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Main Worship Center of First Baptist Church Simpsonville (3 Hedge St., Simpsonville, S.C.).

The funeral service will be held in the Main Worship Center of First Baptist Simpsonville on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m. Burial will follow the service at Cannon Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to First Baptist Church Simpsonville, Building Fund. An obituary is available here.

Last updated February 18, 2019
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director