Mr. William Bernard Hendricks of Bristol, Virginia, known to most as “Willie” at age 102, joined his parents and wife Lura Belle Laws Hendricks to be with God on Friday, March 23, 2018. He was the last of 10 children born to Mr. Charles Hendricks, Jr. and Mrs. Martha Clark Hendricks on June 12, 1915 in Russell County, Lebanon, Virginia.
William Hendricks graduated high school in Russell County, Virginia and received a B.S. in English from Bluefield State Teachers College formally BCI College in Bluefield, West Virginia. While attending BCI College he sang in the College Glee Club.
William Hendricks began a career as an English teacher but quickly decided he had a true passion for being a chef. He began his career as a chef while residing in Bluefield, WV where he cooked for the Old Matz Hotel. He then joined Mr. Jack Trayer’s restaurant team and worked his first job at the Holiday Inn on Euclid Avenue and at the Hotel Bristol. William Hendricks fame for cooking came from his award winning southern fried chicken, caramel cakes, and his famous hot rolls. His cooking became so well-known he was asked to cook privately in the home of the once Governor Stuart of Elk Garden, Virginia and then on to become a chef for the United States of America White House under the administration of President John F. Kennedy, President Lindon B. Johnson, and President Richard M. Nixon. He often loved to tell the story of how he met Rose Kennedy and served on the chef team for the wedding cake of Patricia Nixon, daughter of President Nixon. He was a life-time member of New Hope Baptist Church where he served on the Board of Trustees and sang in the choir. He loved fishing and never met a stranger.
Mr. William Hendricks never had children but he leaves to cherish his memory a long-time life friend who was like a son to him and never left his side, Morgan “Ken” McCracken; several devoted grandchildren; great grandchildren; nieces; nephews; cousins; and a host of friends. Special family and friends who were with him in his final days, Mrs. Marion Withcer, Mrs. Drexel Green, Mrs. Loretta Anderson, Mrs. Jenai Hayes, Ms. Janell Jackson, and Mr. Bill Jones.
The family wishes to thank the many faithful friends, his church family of New Hope Baptist Church, Bristol Regional Medical Center, The Just Checking Program, The Soup Kitchen, and Ballad Hospice Healthcare who offered prayers, visited and sent special packages during his lifetime. The family also wishes to extend gratitude to all for their support during this time of bereavement.
Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 31, 2018, at New Hope Baptist Church, with Pastor Rev. William Reid officiating. The family will receive friends from 12 p.m. until the hour of service. Burial will follow at Mt. View Cemetery Bristol, Va.