About the author
(Jack) Kenneth Lee Hendrickson
(Feb 12, 1931 - Jan 18, 2003)
Jack Hendrickson was a fairly average rural American young boy. Maybe one of the main things that distinguished him from most poor farmer kids in his day was that he lived on Long Island -- a seven mile long island in the middle of the United States' largest waterway – The Mississippi River.
Jack spent most of his life within several hundred miles of his birthplace. His lifestyle was one of modest income and simple lifestyle.
Writing was a skill he employed all through his life – mostly in the form of personal letters or occasionally helping someone write or edit a book. True Tales - From Mark Twain Land is his most substantial offering in published format.
Many of Jack's day-dreams were fanciful memories of out-foxing a wary fish
and bringing it home for dinner. Here in later years, his keen eye watches
the lazy red and white bobber on the fishing line of his 16' cane pole. At the
first nervous jiggle of the bobber, there will be a mighty jerk - and Mr. Fish
will sorely repent for the first time he ever started likin' worms for dinner.
His college years equipped him with the fundamentals for preaching, but his most developed quality was his high esteem for matters of the heart, e.g., integrity, simplicity, kindness, and spiritual passion.
Pursuing the ministry of the Gospel with an emphasis on compassionate caring for people characterized most of his life. No matter who he was with, he was known for quickly finding an opportunity to talk about eternal matters. Although he had the title of Pastor many times, he was a true pastor (shepherd) at heart, even more than his office. He was deeply loved by most, even after many years had passed after his service in their congregations. He pioneered at least one church, but pastored and guest ministered in dozens of churches throughout the course of his life. Even in later life, he was substitute and interim pastor for many churches in a variety of denominations.
Carpentry and general home repair was his “tent-making” profession when ministry didn't satisfy the budget. He had an unusual gift of “common sense” and the ability to make an impossible situation functional.
In later years, he and his wife Mary, resided on a very tranquil property near Quincy, IL about 20 miles from where he was born. A serene setting of trees, shade, wild life and a pond were within a stone's throw of their front door. Although he and Mary lived in larger cities several times throughout their lives, this natural setting was closer to Jack's real heart and nature. And even though they had modern gas heat in their home, most of the time they preferred the warmth of wood heat.
True Tales was written with this tranquil pond easily viewable through Jack's office window.
The serenity and wildlife activity of this pond afforded inspiration while he was in front of his computer…
and when he got a hankerin' for fishin'. Although Mary wasn't born with a natural bent for fishing,
occasionally she accompanied Jack on his fishing expeditions. Here he is coaching her
on the finer points of catching those wily creatures. This autumn outing was
one of the last times Jack and Mary enjoyed the great out-of-doors together.
Jack's later years were a continuation of what he'd done all of his life – live simply, care deeply, pursue his God, and leave a written account of his life with the hope that others might be able to glean some wisdom for living more nobly.
With the supernatural intervention of God, a rigorous diet change, and the prayers of many people, he beat a Dr.'s prognosis of only 6 months left to live—he lived six more years. Prostate cancer had secured a terminal hold on his body but it wasn't going to be quickly successful. These six bonus years allowed for the time necessary to write most of this book. He did much research over many hundreds of miles, visiting archive libraries and photo galleries in his desire to secure accurate pictures and documentation so as to authenticate True Tales. Many phone calls and personal visits to acquaintances, relatives and resource people occupied his time, since it was his objective to make this book as accurate as practically possible. In the end, cancer was able to compromise his writing objectives. The text and pictorial support was 95% written, gathered and formatted in a rough draft. Happily complying with one of his last wishes, his wife Mary, and their son Mark, completed True Tales over the next few years.
Jack was physically mobile up until the last couple weeks of his life. He was in good spirits, never complained and still preferred others before himself, even up to a few days before he passed away peacefully in his home. A heartwarming journal of Jack's last few weeks, written by his son, Mark, is available here.
Jack's family and the lives he touched are a redounding testimony to the noble legacy he left behind. He will always be remembered for his gentle eyes and compassionate heart. It was his hope that this book would inspire others toward a greater appreciation for matters of the heart, caring relationships and a God-filled eternity.
(Jack and Mary)