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Obituary: George Braddock “Brad” Hendricks

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Friends and family of Brad Hendricks were mightily saddened last week with the sudden passing of the long-time Carbondale resident, who died May 22, 2014, from an apparent heart attack. The former town councilman and well-known raconteur was 72.

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Born on Dec. 16, 1941, in Los Angeles, California, Mr. Hendricks was the middle child of George and Louise Hendricks and attended public schools in Glendale, California. He later graduated from Arizona State University in Tempe with a degree in mechanical engineering.

After college, his first (and last) steady job was with the energy technology giant Schlumberger, for whom he worked as a production logger and trouble shooter in the oil and gas fields of eastern Utah and northwest Colorado. It was during his time with Schlumberger in the early 1960s that he met and later married, Jane Jochems, who was teaching Classical Languages at Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale.

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The young couple quit their jobs, booked passage on a freighter out of Long Beach, California and spent a year or so traveling in the western Pacific, most notably Australia and New Zealand as well as the varied islands of Indonesia.

It was among the first of his many adventures in foreign lands. But not the last. By the end of his life he had journeyed through most of the countries in Asia, the Near East, Western Europe and the Americas. Sometimes traveling alone, sometimes with his wife and, later, his three daughters, Mr. Hendricks was an excellent storyteller and his friends always enjoyed sharing the journey with him upon his homecoming.

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Settling down in Carbondale in 1970, Mr. Hendricks pursued a variety of part-time occupations: he crafted doll houses for the Aspen market; prospected for uranium in the California Sierras and gold in Mexico; helped refurbish a deserted seafood processing plant in the Aleutian Islands; and pursued the trade for which he was probably best known: building custom log homes. His special love, however, was working as a seasonal guide and outfitter each year for his good friend Loring Woodman at the Darwin Ranch in the Gros Ventre Mountains of northwest Wyoming.

Closer to home, Mr. Hendricks was an early supporter of the Carbondale Council on the Arts and Humanities and the Mountain Fair; he was a founding father of KDNK public radio; he helped create the Carbondale Slo-Pitch softball league; and he served a decade as a member of the Carbondale Volunteer Fire Department.

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After years of offering unsolicited advice to the Carbondale Board of Trustees, he was elected to several terms on the town council in the 1990s.

Hoping to continue his political career on a higher level, Mr. Hendricks was the Democratic Party’s nominee in 1998 for a seat on the Garfield County Commission and ran on the campaign slogan “Good Enough For Government Work.”

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Voters disagreed.

He was defeated in the general election by an opponent whom Mr. Hendricks once characterized as “The perfect Republican noun: he has weight and takes up space.”

His many hobbies included:

1. Not-quite repairing decrepit motor vehicles;

2. Questioning the moral fiber of Colorado State Patrol officers who cruised Highway 13 between Craig and Meeker;

3. Buying and wearing Baroque used clothing;

4. Screwing with McDonald’s Corporation employees by refusing to eat the top half of the sesame seed bun on a “Big Mac,” insisting they instead be constructed with the non-sesame seed bottom halves;

5. Assembling the largest collection of Spade Cooley albums on the Western Slope (“Spade,” of course, being the well-known band leader from the Texas Swing era whose brilliant musical career was cut tragically short when he was convicted of murdering his wife with a ballpeen hammer because she preferred the music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys).

Mr. Hendricks’ other interests included critical thinking, playing the devil’s advocate and not suffering fools.

The great loves of his life were his daughters.

Per his request, his remains are to be cremated and his ashes scattered along that portion of County Road 106 that passes through CRMS.

Mr. Hendricks was preceded in death by his father, George Hendricks of Carlsbad, California. Survivors include his mother, Louise Hendricks of Carlsbad; his sister Ann (Hendricks) Woolcott of Portland, Oregon; and his brother Newell Hendricks of Boston, Massachusetts. He is further survived by his daughter Harmony Hendricks and son-in-law Ed Sigel of Centennial, Wyoming; daughter Hilary (Hendricks) Preston and son-in-law Gabe Preston of Durango, Colorado; and daughter Heidi Hendricks and son-in-law Todd Mathis, also of Durango. He is also survived by his wife, Jane Hendricks and her co-husband, Pat Noel, of Collbran, Colorado. Other survivors include his grandchildren: Moxie, Gus, Jack, George, Max and Penelope, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and a slew of good and true friends.

In memoreum, the family will host a gathering of the clan on Saturday, June 14 beginning at 1 p.m. at the Hendricks compound in Satank. In lieu of flowers, stories are requested.

Stories like this (as suggested by Mr. Hendricks’ brother-in-law, Mr. Todo Mundo and recorded by Mrs. Hendricks’ co-husband, Pat Noel):

(One more parenthetical digression: Although he never said it out loud, I believe Mr. Hendricks secretly blamed me, Pat Noel, for his loss in the 1998 election for Garfield County Commissioner. I’m the one who convinced him that his campaign slogan should be “Good Enough for Government Work.”

I mean, that’s a catchy slogan. Ain’t it? Looks good on a bumper sticker. Don’t it?

He couldn’t get his original campaign slogan on a bumper sticker, even if you’d  had a wide-bodied GMC Hummer (a vehicle for which Mr. Hendricks secretly lusted, providing it had a blown tranny and the #1 cylinder had sucked a valve and there was no clear title).

Anyway … here’s Brad’s original campaign slogan for Garfield County Commissioner:

I believe everyone in Garfield County should voluntarily submit a DNA sample and then have these samples shipped to the DeCartes Rocket Company of Marseille, France. Currently active in the European Union’s efforts to develop a space program, Mr. DeCartes’ rocket company would load the samples into a capsule and shoot them into outer space from the European Space Agency’s launching facility in Kourou, French Guiana, down there in South America.

You know, Guiana was the penal colony where Captain Dreyfuss was imprisoned by French anti-Semites?

Why am I even asking if you know that? I know you don’t know that. That’s OK. Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yeah…..

So we shoot our DNA into outer space at a cost of $1,000 per sample … the fees to be borne by the oil and gas companies currently raping the western part of Garfield County — and who will soon be raping the eastern half — and reaping enormous profits as a result.

By the way, we’ll also tax these companies and use the land-rape funds to pay for roads, bridges and human services.

Anyway, at some point in time, these DNA samples will be retrieved by aliens with technology far advanced from ours …  and they will re-animate our cells …

And … We will all be together again.

“All be together again.” That’s not a bumper sticker and besides, the campaign is over and my friend is gone, goddammit, gone.

Editor’s note: Obituary written by Pat Noel.

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