The Port of Port Angeles has dedicated a room at John Wayne Marina to the late Jerry Hendricks, a former port executive director who was instrumental in the development of the facility.
Ethan Wayne, whose father is the namesake for the John Wayne Marina, said at an Oct. 14 gathering that without Hendricks, his father’s vision for the property would never have become a reality.
“When my father was first contemplating donating this land to the port, he envisioned the marina to act as a cornerstone of an overall community full of life, a place where couples and families with kids and dogs could enjoy Sequim Bay’s unique serene outdoor environment,” Wayne said from the newly-dedicated Hendricks Public Meeting Room.
“I’ve heard many times that without Jerry’s leadership this would have never happened.”
Wayne called Hendricks, who died July 17, a “man of action” who got things done. He was a dynamic and respected leader whose “legacy will be remembered through the enjoyment of this special place that enriches so many people’s lives,” Wayne said.
Wayne said that “one day hopefully soon” there would be more work on the surrounding property, completing his father’s entire vision for the area.
Betty Hendricks said it was overwhelming to see everyone at the dedication speaking so fondly of her husband of 32 years and to see the impact he had on the community.
“Jerry was a great man and I knew it, and it makes me happy that everyone else knew it too,” she said. “Throughout this whole thing, the support I have had from friends, family and the community — you couldn’t believe it.”
Hendricks said her husband, who passed away due to complications from a stroke, was so humble that many wouldn’t know his accomplishments.
She said the dedication Saturday was a chance for his grandchildren to hear about some of his major accomplishments and “see that he was a great man,” she said.
“To his grandkids, he was grandpa; to his friends he was a friend; to his sailing buddies he was a sailor,” she said. “They didn’t have any idea of what he contributed to the community.”
Steve Oliver, a former port attorney of 40 years who owned a boat with Jerry Hendricks, said it was because of Hendricks’ leadership, patience and tenacity that the marina was developed, calling it one of the “most trying” projects the two had worked on.
The Wayne family gifted the property to the port in 1975, with the understanding that the marina would be under development within the next five years.
With the new-at-the-time National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and Shoreline Management Act, Hendricks recognized that initial design work on the marina would be inadequate.
“In about 1978 he and the port commission scrapped the design work and environmental planning and started all over,” and created the marina that is there today, Oliver said.
As work continued, it became the first project in the Pacific Northwest to address NEPA and SEPA in the same document, he said.
Oliver said that Hendricks had a hand in many major port projects throughout the years.
“A lot of these projects … were not necessarily accomplished when times were good,” he said. “Those who live on the Peninsula know the timber industry is extremely cyclical, our economy is cyclical, and he accomplished these projects in good times as well as bad.”
Oliver said Hendricks oversaw extensive renovations to the marina terminals, helped develop the port’s industrial park north of Fairchild International Airport and oversaw the development of innovative loading techniques for ships in Port Angeles Harbor that kept the port competitive with other harbors in the Puget Sound region.
He also was part of The Landing mall project in downtown Port Angeles, Oliver said.
“Jerry was a consummate strategist and negotiator and a great leader for this community and for the people who worked for him,” Oliver said.
“We should all be indebted to him for his efforts to improve the quality of life in our community.”
Jesse Major is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.