Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 26, 2012

Alfred A. Hendrickson


LAKE LEELANAU — Alfred A. Hendrickson, 83, of Lake Leelanau, passed away Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, at Just a Whisper Family Adult Care Setting, with his loving family at his side.

Al was born May 18, 1929, in Lake Linden, the son of William J. and Tillie (Harju) Hendrickson. On Nov. 6, 1954, in Clintonville, Wis., he married his loving wife of 58 years, Del Mae (Genskow) Hendrickson, who survives.

Picture a peninsula in the isolated far north of Michigan surrounded by Lake Superior, the deepest freshwater lake in the world. That is the area where Alfred grew up and later raised his family. His life was influenced in many ways by this rugged copper country: his hobbies, his career and his love of travel.

Alfred was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, boating, skiing and hiking. Of course, he wanted his family to enjoy these adventures with him, to enjoy God's wonderful creation to the fullest. So many family gatherings included a five-mile hike to Mount Bohemia or an annual fishing expedition to Isle Royale.

Alfred excelled in academics. He was valedictorian of his high school class and went on to Michigan Technological University with an academic scholarship in material science. From there he went on to receive his master's degree from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in metallurgy from Northwestern University.

In 1953 he met his wife, Del, in Wisconsin while he worked for FWD, Ford Auto. They married in 1954 and moved to Evanston, Ill., where Al finished his Ph.D. He returned to Houghton to pursue his teaching career at Michigan Tech and became a Professor Emeritus for 30 years. During that time he received many outstanding awards for teaching excellence.

Alfred had a very generous and loving nature. He helped many foreign students emigrate to Houghton from Russia. His brother-in-law, Larry, was greatly inspired by Al, and he stayed with his sister and Al for two years while he received his bachelor's degree. He was always offering his services to the Lutheran churches he attended.

Alfred's career as a professor led to many travels around the globe. His many travels related to the forging industry and his specialty, metallurgy. He traveled to Japan, Alaska and to Taiwan and Germany with his wife, Del, his loyal travel companion. A year sabbatical was spent in Birmingham, England, with his family. Al and Del both had adventurous spirits and stayed in Taiwan for three months touring South East Asia.

We want to share with you the love and compassion Alfred experienced at the family setting Adult Care, Just a Whisper, that Dad stayed in up to his death. We are grateful to Kathy and Jay Fralick as well as their staff for their care in making his last days comfortable.

Al and Del's two daughters married, and they inherited two wonderful sons-in-law, John and George. Al and Del have three exceptional grandchildren who are a joy. Brigitte is 26, Gretchen is 25, and Dietrich is 22 years old.

Al is survived by his wife, Del; two daughters, Nancy Lynne (George) Haddad and Amy Jane (John Roger) Warner; three grandchildren, Brigitte Gwynne, Gretchen Kyle and Dietrieh Holt; and many loving nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Rueben; and his sister, Pauline.

The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Leland, with visitation one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow in Beechwood Cemetery. The Rev. Lawrence Matro will officiate.

Memorials may be directed to Immanuel Lutheran Church, PO Box 436, Leland, MI 49654.

Please share thoughts and memories with Al's family on their online guestbook at

Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.