On Tuesday, May 28, 2003, Ernest Hendricks, Jr., "Ernie" to all his friends, died at his winter home in Barbados at the age of 75. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. He served 25 years in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany, the Far East Command, Korea, Japan and Vietnam, retiring in 1969 as a Major. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal as a result of his Vietnam service. More recently, Ernie served as Superintendent of the City of Milwaukee Bureau of Municipal Equipment, retiring from that position in 1994.
A native of New Jersey, Ernie received a B.S. in Commerce and Finance from Bucknell University in Lewisbury, Pennsylvania, and did graduate work at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Ernie spent two years as Operations Officer at the Marine Midland Bank in New York City prior to entering the field of public works. His public works career was multi-faceted. He served as the first black Public Works Director in Englewood, New Jersey, before coming to Milwaukee as Assistant Superintendent of the Bureau of Municipal Equipment in 1975. In 1985, he was named Superintendent of the Bureau of Municipal Equipment, one of the first black department heads in the City of Milwaukee. He oversaw a work force of approximately 400 employees and was responsible for the purchase, maintenance, repair and disposal of over 3,100 pieces of equipment, ranging from automobiles and pickup trucks to garbage packers, street sweepers and snowplow vehicles.
Ernie became a member of APWA in 1973, and was active in both the Metro New York-New Jersey and Wisconsin chapters. In Wisconsin, he progressed through the chairs to become Chapter President in 1987. As a Past President, he was also able to serve as the Chapter's Representative to the Region V House of Delegates. He was an enthusiastic recruiter of new members and provided ongoing leadership to the chapter throughout his career. In addition, he was an active member of the Executive Council of the National Institute for Equipment Services, the precursor to today's Fleet Services Technical Committee.
Ernie was born March 25, 1928 in New York City, the son of Ernest and Velma Hendricks, both now deceased. His wife, Audrey, passed away in 1992. He is survived by daughters Erica Hendricks and Enid Gary, son-in-law Brian Gary, grandchildren Brian Jr. and Ian Gary, brother Adrian and his wife Phyllis Hendricks, and sister DeRosette and her husband Roger Blunt, as well as nieces, nephews and cousins. He also leaves behind a multitude of friends and acquaintances in Wisconsin, New Jersey and Barbados, and around the globe.
Contributed by Sandra Westbrook (former Wisconsin Chapter President)