Cover photo for Stephen Bryan Hendricks's Obituary
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1926 Bryan 2023

Stephen Bryan Hendricks

August 6, 1926 — November 17, 2023

Lake Butler

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Stephen “Bryan” Hendricks, age 97, of Lake Butler, Florida, passed away on November 17, 2023, at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Lake City, Florida.

Bryan, the 6th of 12 children, was born to Butler and Ollie Hendricks on August 6, 1926, at the family home in Lake Butler. Bryan left high school at the age of 17 to enlist in the United States Navy during World War II.  He served on the USS Skagit, a cargo ship that transported troops and supplies. On September 2, 1945, his ship cruised into Tokyo Bay. There, they sailed past the battleship USS Missouri at the exact time President Truman was signing the peace treaty, ending the war. After serving 2 more years, he was honorably discharged in September 1947.  

Bryan returned home and graduated with the Union County Class of 1947.  He began working for the Atlantic Coastline Railroad in December 1947, traveling around the state working in freight and ticketing.  In the Spring of 1951, he met a city girl, Jeanette Ryals from High Springs. They were married November 18, 1951, then moved to Largo for a short period. In a short time, they had 3 children: Stephen (1953) Linda (1954) and Joe (1956). When they returned to Lake Butler, Bryan went to work for Florida Hydrocarbons (the gas plant) as the office manager. He and Jeanette purchased 80 acres in Union County where he began farming. In 1971, he began farming full time, growing row crops, strawberries, and tobacco.  He raised cattle and managed an egg production operation. He spent the rest of his life on his farm, and until just a few years ago, he grew a garden every Spring and Fall. He grew enough to feed his family, put some up, and still had enough to give away to friends. At about the age of 94, he decided he needed help, and began supervising Phillip in tending the garden.  He enjoyed fishing in the pond with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He spent many hours riding his Gator around the fields so he could tell Joe and Tanner what to do and how to do it.

Bryan’s passion and priority was his faith. He loved the Lord, and he was a student of the Bible, always seeking to learn more and serve his Lord and Savior. He treasured every opportunity to discuss the Word with anyone.  He played a key role in the unity of the Midway and Danville Churches to establish the Lake Butler Church of Christ. He served as an elder for 35 years from 1969 to 2004. He was a Bible class teacher and church treasurer for many years. He was committed to his Lord and always encouraged his children and grands to prioritize their faith and live a life of service to God.

He also loved Union County and served in several roles of leadership inour community.  He was a committee member for the Farm Service Agency. He also served as a member of the Union County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the Elzey Chapel Cemetery Association.

Bryan was determined to instill a strong work ethic in his children.  There was no tolerance of idleness or slacking. There were always chores and jobs with a high expectation for compliance and quality work. He placed a high emphasis on education and was very proud of the academic accomplishments of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Many times, he and Jeanette hosted multiple nieces and nephews in their home for summer break.  The kids spent time with “Uncle Bryan and Aunt Nett” learning to work on the farm, but more importantly, building each of their own special relationships.  Bryan spoke for years with pride of teaching many picky eaters to enjoy eating their vegetables, fresh from the garden they had tended.

Bryan acknowledged the problem that Elzey Chapel Cemetery, where most Hendricks are buried, was running out of space. He took a great interest in finding a place large enough to be the final resting place for the very large, and still growing, Hendricks family.  He was instrumental in the work of establishing the Hendricks Family Cemetery on the land once farmed by his father, which remains in the family.  The project was completed in 2019, and Bryan will be the first internment.

Bryan was preceded in death by his parents, Butler and Ollie Hendricks; Sisters: Marie (Elijah) Brooks and Evelyn (Edison) Paulk; Brothers: John (Eloise & Strick), James (Adolyen), Drew (Josie), Joe (Elaine), Harold (Martha) and Herman Hendricks. 

Survived by his wife of 72 years, Jeannette Ryals Hendricks; three Children: Stephen (JoAnn), Linda (Phillip) Johns, Joe (Debbie) Hendricks; Seven Grandchildren: Stephanie (Danny) Christmas, Blake Dicks, Jason (Angie) Hendricks, Jodi (Jeff) England, Kellie (Jessie) Rhoades, Stacie (Richard) Cason and Brad (Sarai) Dicks; 20 Great Grandchildren: Macy, Evan, and Molly Christmas, Seth (Haley), Gage, and Jordan Hendricks, Ella, Grant, Jesse, and Kenna Dicks, Lexi England, Tanner, Judd and Tripp Connell, Andie Jo Rhoades, Landon, Clayton, Allie, Alston and Aubrie Cason; Brothers: David (Ann), Vernon (Janet), Donald (Lois) Hendricks; Sister-In-Law Pam Hendricks; and a multitude of nieces and nephews that he loved dearly.

The family will receive friends for a
visitation at Archer-Milton Funeral Home on Monday, November 20th from 5pm - 7pm. A funeral service will be held at Lake Butler Church of Christ on Tuesday, November 21st at 11am. Bryan will be laid to rest immediately following the service at Hendricks Family Cemetery with military honors. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Archer-Milton Funeral Home. 386-496-2008 www.archerfuneralhome.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Stephen Bryan Hendricks, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, November 20, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Archer-Milton Funeral Home

55 N Lake Ave, Lake Butler, FL 32054

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Funeral Service

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Lake Butler Church of Christ

475 NW 2nd St, Lake Butler, FL 32054

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Interment

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Immediately following the service

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