Ralph Lee Hendricks, 81, of St. Maries, Idaho, died January 4, 2020 at home, attended by his loving wife and beloved daughter Sara after battling several health issues.
He was born October 8, 1938 to John and Helen (Stanton) Hendricks in Blencoe, Iowa, where he grew up and graduated from Blencoe Consolidated High School with the class of 1956.
After running the family farm for a year following the death of his father, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard in February of 1957. He served as a radioman in Port Angeles, Kodiak, Boston, Seattle, St. Louis, Hokkaido, Japan and on the ice breaker Edisto to the Arctic and Antarctica. In addition, he was a marksman and taught shooting and survival skills. He voluntarily served three tours in Vietnam as a sniper with a group of Marines. Lee retired in 1977 as Master Chief Radioman out of Kodiak.
After his retirement, he lived a year in San Diego with his brother John, a retired Navy lieutenant, after which they both relocated to Concrete, Wash. He started a second career in 1980 running the Fire Dept/EMS dispatch center for Skagit County in Mt. Vernon, Wash. until it combined with police dispatch in 1990. He met the love of his life, Alice Kramarczyk, when she moved from Chicago to work there as a dispatcher. They were married March 31, 1984, in Mt. Vernon, living there and in LaConner, WA after their marriage. They welcomed their precious daughter Sara Christine on August 13, 1992.
He retired again, and the family moved here to their home in Parkline, just outside St. Maries, in January 2001. Lee loved it here and wished he found this area of North Idaho, and Alice, much earlier in life.
He enjoyed shooting, hunting, fly fishing, camping, backpacking, biking, canoeing, amateur HAM radio, studying history and reading extensively.
He is survived by his wife Alice at the family home and by his daughter Sara of Colorado Springs, Col., as well as assorted nieces and cousins. Lee was preceded in death by his parents, sister Faye Lily Cartmill, brother John Neil Hendricks and infant son Jon Walter.
A memorial service will be January 17, 2020 at Hodge Funeral Home in St. Maries with a graveside service following at Woodlawn Cemetery. A gathering of family and friends will follow at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
Memorials are suggested to Benewah County Humane Society (Hope’s Haven) or Hospice of North Idaho.
Please visit his online memorial at hodgefuneralhome.com.