N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--November 1998

JDM retires after long career in the west

Murphy — Ed Hendrix, a former biology teacher turned probation and parole officer, retired in September as the judicial district manager for the seven western most counties in North Carolina.

Hendrix said he loved his 39 years in government service, 33 with the Division of Adult Probation and Parole.

"Every day could be a different day, so every day could have a surprise before the day was over," Hendrix said.

"Ed Hendrix is a soft-spoken, people person, the kind this organization needs in dealing with offenders," Deputy Secretary Theodis Beck said. Beck has known Hendrix throughout his career and came to respect and admire his gentle management style.

"Motivating people is an art, and Ed had the gift to encourage and uplift others," Beck said. "The employees in the western counties are losing a good friend."

A Murphy native, Hendrix went to college at Western Carolina University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in education. Following graduation, he taught 10th-graders biology at Murphy High School.

Helping teens dissect frogs was not the fulfilling job he had hoped it would be. He had a friend who was a probation and parole officer who kept encouraging Hendrix to apply. When a job came open in 1965, he was hired and discovered he loved the work.

"Crime was not near as bad then as it is today," Hendrix said. "Most of the crimes back then were DUI’s, non-support, assaults, thefts, and breaking and entering. We didn’t have violent crimes, and drug crimes weren’t even heard of then."

In the beginning, Hendrix covered the rural counties of Cherokee, Clay and Graham by himself. Some days he could drive up to 175 miles, checking on offenders in his caseload of 120 or 130 probationers. Parolees weren’t added to the caseload until the early 1970's.

Hendrix became a unit supervisor in 1978 and was promoted to Judicial District manager in 1993.

In his spare time, Hendrix restored a 1955 red and white Ford Crown Victoria, and in his retirement, he plans to restore another one. He said he also hopes to increase his current two-mile walk to four or five miles and to get back into hunting and fishing which, he said, he had to push out of his life because of his job.

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