Ralph McClure Hendrix, Sr.

Ralph McClure Hendrix, Sr., 97, of Columbia, died Monday, March 5, 2018. Born March 27, 1920 in Greer, SC to J.O. Hendrix and Ernestine Wilson Hendrix. He graduated from Duncan High School (now Byrnes High) in 1937. He graduated from Clemson University in 1941, Summa Cum Lade, and then successfully completed Midshipman School at Notre Dame as an Ensign. Ralph and Sarah Bissell were married in South Bend, Indiana, shortly thereafter. He was on active duty in the Navy from 1943 until December of 1945 where he remained in the Naval Reserve after World War II and rose to the rank of Commander.

After the war, Ralph and Sarah moved to Columbia where their son, Ralph Jr., was born in 1948. Ralph was employed by the South Carolina State Department of Education in various capacities. He received his master’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in 1951. In 1953, he was appointed Assistant Director of School Bus Transportation for South Carolina and, in 1957, was promoted to Director. When he took the job, the state’s pupil transportation system was small and disorganized and run by a handful of the state’s school districts. Under his direction a statewide network of school bus service shops were developed, and a mandatory driver training program was instituted. At his Retirement in 1991, South Carolina had 6,400 buses, 5700 drivers, and 44 school bus maintenance Shops. The school buses logged about 62 million miles a year and transported 425,000 children.

In 1974 Sarah died. In 1983 he married Josie Martin and they have lived at their home on Lake Elizabeth Drive ever since. Ralph’s hobbies were working in his yard and growing Tea Roses. He really enjoyed giving the roses to friends and family. Ralph was a member of Shandon United Methodist Church.

Ralph was predeceased by his sisters, Mildred McAllister of Fayetteville, NC, and Irene Hadden of Spartanburg; brothers Everette of Morganton, NC, and Cliff and Bill of Abner Creek, SC. His remaining living sibling is F.E. Hendrix of Abner Creek. Surviving his death is

his son, Dr. Ralph Hendrix, Jr., and his wife Sara, of Pinehurst, N.C. He also is survived by three stepsons, John B. Copeland, Marshall Copeland and is wife, Lena, and Lee Martin and his wife, Georgia, all of Columbia. His grandchildren are Dr. Jason Hendrix of Wilmington, N.C., Ralph Hendrix, Ill of Michigan, Travis Copeland of Florence, Michelle Copeland of Columbia, Ashley Truett and her husband Grady, and Grady Martin and his wife Emily all of Columbia. His great-grandchildren, are Max, Rex, and Trixie Hendrix of Wilmington, NC, Issac and Brooke Hendrix of Pinehurst, N.C., Josie Truett, Isabelle Truett, Emily Grace Truett and Baby Finn Martin of Columbia.

A funeral service for Mr. Hendrix will be held 6 o’clock, Friday, March 9th, at Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, 7600 Trenholm Road Ext., Columbia, with a visitation to follow. Interment will be held 11 o’clock, Saturday at Abner Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, 2461 SC 42-63, Greer, SC. Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, is assisting the family. Memorials may be made to Pathway Hospice, 3231 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia, SC 29169 or to Shandon United Methodist Church, 3407 Devine Street, Columbia, 29205.

 

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