Phyllis Jane (Roth) Hendryx

July 6, 1925 ~ May 24, 2022 (age 96)


On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, Phyllis Jane Hendryx, loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away at the age of 96 at Brookdale Westlake Village in Westlake, Ohio.

Phyllis was born on July 6, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio to the late Annette and Wilbur Roth.  Phyllis' life was a tribute to tenacity.  At the early age of 9, in the middle of the depression, her father lost his sight.  Between Phyllis and her mother Annette, they lifted her father’s spirit.  Annette and Wilbur went to work as a stellar car sales team.  At the same time, Phyllis went to school and learned early on how to take care of things at home while her parents worked.  Like her mom, Phyllis was a dynamo even then.

After high school graduation, in the heart of World War II, she went to work as a secretary and saved money for college with her goal to be a teacher.  After 2 years, she enrolled part-time at Cleveland College and earned scholastic honors.  With that background, she applied for and won a full scholarship to Western Reserve College (now Case Western Reserve University).  In 2-1/2 years, she graduated at the top of her class. 

In her final year of college, she went on a blind date with a really shy man with the same first name as her dad.  It was magic.  Just 9 months later she became engaged to a young Lt. Wilbur Hendryx. A June wedding was planned.  But, the Air Corps had other ideas and the young Lieutenant was heading to Germany.  A June 1951 wedding became an October 1950 nuptial.  Phyllis pulled it together quickly and the wedding went off without a hitch.  Phyllis often said, my Aunt was sure we “had to get married”.  Was she ever surprised when our first child was born 6 years later!

Kids were the passion of Phyllis’ life.  She was an exceptional teacher.  She taught in Cleveland, Germany and later with the Joseph Badger School District.  Those kids always knew they were important to her.  If she could not remember their name, a “Hi Aloysius” or another random name always brought a smile.  She was that crazy teacher who cared.  She also let every kid know that she was 94 and mean.  They knew she wasn’t mean, but 94 . . .  the age never changed.

Her 5 kids (she just couldn’t squeeze in the 6th), Louise, David, Norma, Bruce and Paula knew that same love and encouragement.  A more diverse group has rarely been seen.  Phyllis made sure each felt loved, pushed to succeed and thoroughly supported, a great mom indeed.

As her kids left the nest, Phyllis and Wilbur were determined to see the world.  David’s career with United provided the means to travel and the Hendryx pair saw every continent.  Pictures of the 2 of them on the Great Wall, at the Taj Mahal and during the squadron flight to Alaska were just a few examples of their exploits. 

In 2002, Wilbur was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Phyllis was as upbeat through this journey as she was through all her other challenges. She was dedicated to making this part of their lives as positive as possible. They were an incredible pair.  In 2005, sadly Wilbur lost his fight with Alzheimer’s.

Phyllis’ final chapter was about wearing out, not rusting out.  She traveled to see her grandchildren, went to their sporting events and was a “force to be reckoned with”.  She even went to the Panama Canal.  She was a rockstar! 

Her 5 children: Louise Walton, David (Monica) Hendryx, Norma (Dr. Eric) Polansky, Bruce (Nita) Hendryx and Dr. Paula (Dr. Khaled Issa) Hendryx will miss her so.  She will also be missed by her 13 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.  They all can attest, her life was amazing.  

A tribute to her memory will be held at Hartford United Methodist Church in Hartford, Ohio on Thursday, June 2nd starting at 4 pm.  Reverend MaryAnn Rufener will lead a memorial service starting at 6 pm.  A congregational dinner will follow the service.  Come on by, say hello and tell your favorite Mrs. Hendryx story.  The family will love to hear it. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Phyllis’ name to the Hartford United Methodist Church, PO Box 36, Hartford, Ohio 44424.  The family also wants to thank the caregivers at Westlake Village for their care.

A private burial service will be on Friday, June 3rd at Alliance City Cemetery in Alliance, Ohio.

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