unknown - May 13, 2013
Les Hendrix, a wayfaring newsman who became a sagely fixture in his adopted and beloved Schoharie County, died Monday, May 13, 2013, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown after a long, valiant battle with cancer. He was 71.
Lester Elmer Hendrix Jr. was born Dec. 20, 1941, the son of Lester and L. Roberta (Loyster) Hendrix. He was raised in Cazenovia. He was a graduate of the Pennington School in New Jersey and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Syracuse University. He was honorably discharged after serving in the United States Air Force, with duty during the Berlin Wall crisis in the early 1960s.
He was a journalist for 32 years, including work in Wilmington, DE; Coxsackie, NY, and Albany, NY, during his first decade. For 22 years thereafter, he was a reporter for the Schenectady Daily Gazette in Schoharie County, retiring in 1997. He then pursued a second career in government, first as Schoharie County personnel officer from 1997-1999 and then as administrative officer of the New York State Ethics Commission, retiring in 2004.
He married the former Anne Whitbeck on July 16, 1988, a partnership that catalyzed an interest in history and a vocational career as a small-press publisher, historical writer and community activist. (At the time of his death, Les was village historian of Schoharie and deputy to Anne in her role as town of Schoharie historian.) Together, they produced the Sloughters' Instant History of Schoharie County for the Schoharie County Historical Society in 1987 and 1988. They revised it into two more editions in the 1990s, and electronically published a fourth edition earlier this year.
Les was editor of the Schoharie County Historical Review for five years, and edited Edward A. Hagan's and Mark Sullivan's biography of William Bouck, New York State's governor from 1843-1844, the only one from Schoharie County. The book was one of several publications published by Lester's Tryon Press, an enterprise he maintained until Tropical Storm Irene's floods in 2011. In his "retirement," Les also completed most of the work for a master's degree in history and writing at Empire State College, until 2012, when his illness made academic work too demanding.
Before Irene, Lester was among the citizens of the region who recognized the perils of living in the midst of Schoharie Valley's infrastructure. When deficiencies in the Gilboa Dam came to public attention in 2004, he was "one of the principal agitators" and a founder and the first president of Dam Concerned Citizens Inc., a watchdog group that would play a major role in efforts to make the region safer. Lester was honored with the 2006 Cobleskill Times-Journal "Star" award for his efforts in raising awareness.
At the time of his death, Les was the webmaster of SchoharieHistory.com, and had just started work on a new project, Schoharie, the Story of Us, a community personal-history project. He was also was working on expanding a 2012 history of the town and village of Schoharie, a region that had lost quite a bit of historical material in Irene's waters.
Les is survived by his wife, Anne, of Schoharie; a son, Lester (Kate) Hendrix III of Wilmington, DE; a daughter, Kathryn Hendrix, of Wilmington; a stepdaughter, Tatiana Boba of Middleburgh ; a stepson Giancarlo (Jackie) Boba of Atlanta, GA; a brother, James (Linda) Hendrix of Fairport; a sister Barbara (George) Watson of Griffin, GA; six grandchildren, Amanda, Desiree, Brian, Nicholas, Declan and Liam; four step-grandchildren, Erich, Alec, Pamela and Rosa; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a sister, Martha (Art) Williams of Chittenango.
Memorial service: 1 p.m. on Monday, May 20, at Palmer & Shaylor Funeral Home, 134 River St., Middleburgh, with Rev. Jared VanWagenen IV officiating. Inurnment with military honors followed in Old Stone Fort Cemetery, Schoharie. Calling hours were at the funeral home.
Donations can be made to Dam Concerned Citizens, PO Box 310 Middleburgh, NY or Schoharie Free Library, PO Box 519 Schoharie NY 12157.