Some view being a mother to be a chore filled with day to day servanthood with little to no reward. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, in the mind of Linda Hendrix as she viewed being a mother to be both her highest calling and her greatest gift. As her friends and family can attest, putting the needs of others ahead of her own needs came naturally to Linda whether in ways great or small. She taught us so much about what true love is as Linda demonstrated to us through the life she lived each day that it is through loving those around us, family, friend, and stranger alike, that we truly radiate the very essence of what it means to be a blessing to others. Life will never be the same without Linda here, but her memory will remain forever in our hearts.
As the decade that became known as the Nifty Fifties dawned, America was more than ready to turn the page on the perils of WWII during the decade prior that was prefaced by the hardship of the Great Depression during the 1930s. We were introduced to rock ‘n roll music during this time while televisions were becoming a part of the average home in cities from coast to coast. It was during this transitional time that a young family from Milwaukee, Wisconsin was eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as the cool winds of fall blew in. Their wait was over on September 14, 1950, when baby Linda Rose made her arrival as the fourth and youngest child born to Walter and Rose (Rockenbach) Mauer. She was raised alongside her siblings, Patricia, Wayne, and Sandra, and came to know tragedy at a young age with the sudden death of her father before she was one year old. The days that followed were difficult ones and their financial situation became even more strained, yet the family was a close knit group who all helped with what they could.
Some time later Linda’s mother married George Truchan, with whom she was blessed with a son, Robert, who completed their family. Linda enjoyed her childhood including shopping on Third Street with her sister and bus rides with her mother. Although they didn’t have everything their hearts desired, they never went without either. Linda attended school until her sophomore year, and she always had a love for animals, especially dogs.
Even from her earliest years Linda made caring for others seem effortless. Perhaps this was rooted in the care she helped provide for her grandmother during her time of need. In doing so, Linda learned to put the needs of others ahead of her own needs, which became the way she lived her life throughout her entire journey.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Linda when she met the young man with whom she would share the best years of her life. His name was Earl Hendrix, and he moved to Milwaukee from Ohio. It was in late 1965 that Earl was set up on a blind date with Linda, and their lives were never the same. Their first date was spent cruising with another couple, a common practice during that generation. A whirlwind romance ensued, and they lit up the town together as they enjoyed dancing “country” and going to stock car races.
With a desire to build a life together, Linda and Earl were married on December 17, 1966, at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. That same month they were blessed with the birth of their son, Earl Jr, who was joined by their second son, Walter, in 1968. From the moment Walter was born Linda fully immersed herself into caring for their boys. It doesn’t come as a surprise that she always put both her husband and children first and foremost in her life. The Hendrix family was always doing things together including fishing, camping, stock car races, and traveling to Ohio to visit family. Linda and Earl were firm believers in the notion that if they kept their children busy, their children wouldn’t have time to get into any trouble. As a mother Linda was strict when needed, yet never hesitated to use the phrase, “Wait until your father gets home!” Together Linda and Earl did what needed to be done in order to guide their sons in the way in which they should go, shaping them into the adults they became so proud of. When Earl Jr. married his wife, Shelly, Linda welcomed her as a daughter with open arms.
Always the first to help others, Linda never complained of being interrupted in her own plans. Nothing demonstrated this more clearly than when her son, Walter, needed a kidney transplant in 1992 and Linda gave what can only be viewed as the greatest gift when she became the donor.
When her children were both in school, Linda began working outside the home. Her days in the workplace found her in a variety of places including at M.W. Cash, in packaging for a local toy distributor, and as a cashier at both Toys ‘R Us and at the Gossen Company. Although she enjoyed her work, she cheerfully retired from the official workforce when she landed her dream job with the birth of her precious granddaughter, Elizabeth, in 2002. Linda certainly loved being a mother, but just may have argued that being a grandmother was the job of a lifetime.
There were so many things that made Linda such a unique woman who was so easy to love. She was the queen of rummage sales as looking for the perfect find was something she never tired of. Linda enjoyed working in her yard and had the most breathtaking flowers to show for her efforts. She was always most comfortable in sweatpants and a T-shirt and was never one to care about the latest gadget. Linda’s family even bought her a cell phone, but she refused to use it and commonly carried the portable house phone in her pocket wherever she went – even if she left the house!
Someone who never complained, it came as a shock to her loved ones when Linda suffered a massive heart attack from which she was unable to recover. She drew her last breath just a few days later surrounded by her loving family.
Although she loved so many things throughout her life, nothing was ever more important to Linda Hendrix than the people around her. She deeply loved her husband, selflessly nurtured her children, and took every opportunity to spoil her beloved granddaughter. Linda will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.
Linda Hendrix died on November 15, 2011. Linda’s family includes her husband, Earl; children, Earl Jr. (Shelly) and Walter; granddaughter, Elizabeth; siblings, Patricia (the late Ralph) Engl, Wayne (Lynn) Mauer, the late Sandra (Richard) Hoffman, and Robert (Marilyn Strankowski) Truchan as well as numerous other relatives and friends. Visitation will be held on Sunday, November 20, 2011, at the Funeral Home from 4:00 p.m. until time of Funeral Services at 6:00 p.m. Interment, Graceland Cemetery. Arrangements provided by Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes, Suminski / Weiss, 1901 N. Farwell Ave (414) 276-5122. Please visit www.ifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory.