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Audra S. Hendrickson

February 1, 1928 August 31, 2019
Audra S. Hendrickson
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Obituary for Audra S. Hendrickson

Audra Taft Smith Hendrickson, passed away on August 31, 2019, at the age of 91. Strong in her faith, she died peacefully and is now reunited with her beloved late husband, Jack R. Hendrickson, Sr. and her son, Jack R. (Reyn) Hendrickson, Jr.

Daughter of the late William Clifford and Olive Ethel Taft Smith, she was born on February 1, 1928 in Santaquin, Utah and was preceded in death by four of her eight siblings. Audra is survived, and will be greatly missed, by her children, daughter Kim H. Leffler (Raymond) of Manakin-Sabot, VA, and her sons Peter E. Hendrickson (Doreen) of Commerce Township, and Rob S. Hendrickson (Rhonda) of Troy; her nine grandchildren, Andrew (Meredith) and Christina Leffler, Eric (Marina), Susan (James), Amitai, Katie, T.J., Scott (Stephanie), and James Hendrickson, two step-grandchildren, Cheryl L. Wyer, and Katie L. Edwards, five great-grandchildren (Ellie, Duncan, Charlie, Clara, and Violet), her sisters Anna Lou and Diane, brothers Leo and Jaye, and dozens of nieces and nephews.

Audra began her writing career at the age of 19 when she was appointed Society Editor of the Provo (Utah) Daily Herald. It was there in 1949, following a six-week courtship and three-day engagement, that she married Jack, the love of her life, a reporter on a rival paper. They moved to Jack’s home in Michigan early in their marriage and remained there for but for occasional forays to Utah and Virginia. The first (but by no means the last) in her family to go to college, Audra earned her B.A. in English Literature (University of Wyoming, MSU, and Oakland University), her M.A. (Oakland University) and completed all but her dissertation for a Ph.D. She was editor of Motel Guest Magazine, a publication produced for tourists in Detroit area motels. She co-founded, edited, and published The Epicenter News for Southfield businesses. A prolific writer, Audra’s general interest articles, short stories, and poems were published in local and national magazines and newspapers.

A dedicated gardener, she and Jack co-authored three good-health cookbooks, and collaborated in the 1970s as “The Energy People” presenting print and broadcast information on energy alternatives. They received the UPI top award for Michigan radio documentary in 1977. Founder of Windflower Press, Audra published five poetry books and her Family Fare cookbooks, and a highly-acclaimed poem, “Wind and Water”. An ardent genealogist and member of the Piety Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she also wrote “Family Matters”, the history of her maternal forebears beginning with the “Mayflower”.

Audra taught English and Journalism at Kingswood School, Cranbrook for seven years, did public relations work for many Detroit area businesses, and was an award-winning photographer. She was volunteer co-host, 1977 - 1979 for Southeast Michigan Easter Seal Telethon fund-raisers and volunteer PR director for the 1980 and 1981 Telethons. She served as President of the Birmingham Senior Women’s Club in 1994. Always active in church work, Audra sang in the choir at Holy Name in Birmingham and was for three years a volunteer leader of the Junior Great Books program at St. Hugo of the Hills School in Bloomfield Hills. In 1967 she directed the CCD after-school religious education program at St. Hugo's, recruiting 150 faculty and auxiliary staff serving nearly 1000 students. She and Jack donated land and raised money to build the St. Anthony of the Desert Chapel in Torrey, Utah, one of her proudest accomplishments.

Audra was an intelligent, beautiful, and gallant woman who loved her family and was proud of her Western upbringing. She was the original Audra after whom all the other Audras are named. A writer friend once said of her, “Every cowboy should have a sweetheart named Audra.”

We are so glad she was our sweetheart.

The family will receive friends at 9:00 a.m. Thursday, September 5, 2019 at Holy Name Catholic Church, 630 Harmon St., Birmingham prior to a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Easter Seal Society.


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