October 6, 2017


EDITOR’S NOTE: It is with great sadness that we report the loss of William Fred Hendrix, Van Horn Class of 1962, who passed away on August 27, 2017 in Gulfport, Mississippi following a long battle with cancer. His dear friend Roger Kinneman offered us the following tribute, and below that we are republishing an article that Fred wrote for the Inter-City News in 2014.

   It’s hard for me to just say in a few words about my best friend Fred Hendrix. But it is with happiness and love that I share some of my thoughts. Fred and I became good friends during our senior year in the class of Van Horn High School, 1962. We have been good friends ever since.
Van Horn Class of 1962 Best Vocalists
Barbe Black and Fred Hendrix

   Wow, fifty six years of dear friendship and a hell of lot of laughter, fun times, stories, and doing things must normal people would never do.

   Soon after we graduated Fred and I got our first apartment together on River Road in Sugar Creek, Mo, better known as Fred and Rog’s party house, and that it was.

Fred moved to New Orleans in 1964 to live with his brother John and attended the University of New Orleans. I hung around in Missouri and went off to school at Southeast Missouri State.

   Fred and I love to get together and tell stories, stories that some could not even believe. Even as he lay in his hospital bed during these last days he wanted to tell the nurses stores about us and entertain them. Fred always loved being on stage. Here’s his favorite story he shared with his doctor and some nurses, a short story about how we got back together. Fred was in New Orleans and I was in Independence. A Story of friendship that changed our path and lives forever.

   I went to visit Fred in New Orleans during the spring of 1965 and we headed to Bourbon Street to go to a new club that just opened up called Your Father’s Mustache. So much fun: sing along, banjo band playing, and lots of cold beer and peanuts. Out in front of the club one night was one of the banjo players who happened to be the owner, Joel Schiavone. Joel said, “Oh, our two favorite customers!” He wanted to know if we were looking for work. Well Fred took the job and I had to head back to Independence.

   After school let out that spring, Fred headed back to Independence on his way to work at Your Father's Mustache in Cape Cod. When Fred arrived he wanted me to go to the Cape Cod with him. He said, “I can get you a job.” I told Fred I didn’t have the money to go. The next day when Fred showed up at my house he was all upset. I asked him what was wrong. He said, “My car just broke down and won’t run.” So after thinking about what to do I told Fred, "I will sell you my '56 Chevy, and you’ll have a car to get to the Cape Cod and then I will have some money to go with you."

   This friendship decision changed our lives forever. The nurses loved the story.

We worked together at Your Father’s Mustache during the summer of 1965. At the end of the summer we headed back together to New Orleans to work at Your Father's Mustache on Bourbon Street. Fred and I managed Your Father’s Mustache together for several years.

   We continued to work together for about 20 years in the night club restaurant business in New Orleans always helping each other out.

Fred created and managed Vince Vance and the Valiants, a Rock and Roll group. He later opened his own business at 711 Bourbon Street called the Tricou House. During this time period Fred married Nancy Wilson, our classmate he met at a class reunion. I was living in Sarasota, Florida and in 1989 Fred, Nancy and their young son Dalton came to my wedding. Fred was my best man and Dalton was the ring bearer.
   Although I ended up living in Seattle, Wa and Fred in New Orleans , we always kept in touch and visited.

   Fred worked for almost 40 years on Bourbon Street. He had the personality, the drive, the hard work ethics, very creative, and a great boss and friend to all. Fred hired and gave work to many musicians. He would always lend a helping hand to those in need. Fred wanted work to be fun. Fred would always say, "Let's work hard, have fun and make money."

   In August 0f 2005 Katrina hit New Orleans. This destroyed and changed the path for many, including Fred. The Tricou House had to shut down.

   Fred found work in restaurants in Mississippi. But he was always thinking about new ways to make money. One time he wanted to create lobster beds to raise lobster in the underground caves in Independence. We even created a novelty company in New Orleans called The Fun Times. Fred was always thinking about new ideas. He was a dreamer and he followed many of his dreams. Toward the end if his life he spent time living in Jamaica.

   Fred was living at his son’s house, Dalton Hendrix in Long Beach, Mississippi upon his death. Fred was very proud of his son and would share many great stories of when Dalton was growing up.

   Fred is now free of cancer and free of pain.

   It isn't possible to put into words the importance of our friendship and how much our relationship meant to us. He positively influenced my life in so many ways and I will miss him with all of my heart and soul. Rest In Peace my Dear Life Long Friend.

Your friend always,
Roger Kinneman

No comments: