Kermit T. Hendrickson

Thursday, June 4, 2015 4:32 pm

Kermit T. Hendrickson, 91, of Decorah, died Thursday morning, May 28, 2015, at his home in Decorah.    Kermit’s wish was to donate his body to the University of Iowa, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Deeded Body Program, for educational and research purposes. Memorial services are at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at First Lutheran Church in Decorah, with Rev. Melissa Bills officiating. Visitation begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, one hour before the service, at First Lutheran Church. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at

Kermit Thomas Hendrickson was born Jan. 26, 1924, in Decorah, the son of Albert and Tilla (Otteson) Hendrickson. He was educated in the Decorah Public Schools, graduating from high school in 1941. After two years of study at Luther College his college career was interrupted by a call to service in the U.S. Army on June 14, 1943. He completed training in the infantry at Camp Roberts, Calif. and was transferred to Brigham Young University as a cadet in the Army Specialized Training Program. This program was discontinued in the winter of 1944 and he was sent to Camp Adair, Ore. to become an infantryman with the 70th Infantry Division. This division became a part of the Seventh Army in Southern France, later the Third Army in the “Battle of the Bulge.” Shortly after VE day he was returned to the United States to become a trombonist with the 376th ASF band in Fort Hamilton, N.Y. He was honorably discharged from the Army at Jefferson Barracks, Mo. Feb. 6, 1946. He resumed his studies at Luther, graduating with a B.A. degree in 1948. In 1940 he entered into a partnership with his uncle, Dewey Sampson, to establish the Men’s Shop in downtown Decorah. This continued until 1966, when Kermit bought out the other half of the business to continue as a single proprietorship. The business terminated in 1976. He married Nora Forde at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Montevideo, Minn. June 20, 1950. This marriage was blessed with five children: Steven, Kristin, Loren, Neil and Karl; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. As a music educator he served in Lime Springs from 1953 to 1955, South Winneshiek from 1955 to 1962, and Decorah as the Junior High Band instructor from 1962 until retirement in 1989. After retirement he continued his long-time association as a brass instructor with the Luther College Music department, which began in 1951 and ended in 1996.

Kermit is survived by his wife, Nora of Decorah; his five children: Steven (Virginia) Hendrickson of Alexandria, Va., Kristin Hendrickson of Minneapolis, Minn., Loren Hendrickson of Decorah, Neil (Mary) Hendrickson of St. Paul, Minn. and Karl (Julie Strom) Hendrickson of Decorah; nine grandchildren: Angela, Brett, Kirsten, Leah, Eric, Hannah, Henry, Thomas and Maria Hendrickson; and three great-grandchildren: Christopher, Alexander and Kyra Langwiser.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his only sibling, a younger sister, Betty Ann Josephson of Rye, New York. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to Luther College, % Development Office, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101, for the Kermit Hendrickson Memorial.

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