Darrel Hendrickson, Colfax, North Dakota, wanted to help his city and its park board.
A lifelong member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Hendrickson held many church offices and served on the board. It wasn’t enough — he wanted to continue giving to Our Savior’s.
Hendrickson, a resident of the Richland 44 School District, especially wanted to further the education of its students.
Although he died at age 83 in February 2016, Hendrickson’s philanthropy continues on. Richland 44 High School, Colfax, hosted a Friday, Dec. 7 celebration of Hendrickson’s generosity.
Hendrickson bequeathed $100,000 to the city of Colfax and the Colfax Park Board. He also bequeathed $200,000 to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.
The largest endowment from Hendrickson’s estate — $4.5 million — is going to Richland 44. A majority of the multi-millions will fund college scholarships for Richland 44 High School graduates.
“It’s just hard to imagine a day like this, folks,” Superintendent Dean Koppelman said. “Someone had it in their heart to do something like this for our school district and for the children of this district.”
Hendrickson’s extensive endowment was made in memory of his grandparents and mother. Berget “Betty” Hendrickson-Gylland farmed with her son for nearly 50 years.
“(He) was known to have some of the best looking fields around and kept them well-tilled, pulling weeds by hand many times,” Hendrickson’s obituary stated. “This hard work earned them a Soil Conservation Award from the State of North Dakota in 1984.”
The Hendricksons retired from farming in 1998. Betty Hendrickson passed away on Nov. 14, 2000. In 2011, Darrel relocated to ManorCare, Fargo, which provided attention for his Parkinson’s disease.
“He cared a great deal about this community,” said attorney Janel Fredericksen, who presented Richland 44 with Hendrickson’s gift.
The Hendrickson endowment is expected to help scholarship recipients attend college for decades to come.
“We’re a community who rallies together when times are tough,” School Board President Nathan Berseth said. “We also gather when it’s time to celebrate.”
Berseth was joined by Vice President Craig Olson to celebrate the endowment. Board members Todd Johnson, Amy Lee Lehmann and Nicole Rostad Holdman also attended. The board is completed by Scott Hendrickson and Jody Lingen.
“We will work with the state to make sure (Darrel Hendrickson’s) wishes are met,” Berseth continued.
Principal Britney Gandhi, Richland 44 High School, said she’s excited by the endowment. Koppelman called Friday one of the most exciting days in his more than 40 years as an educator.
“This is another day to add to the history book of the Richland 44 School District,” Koppelman said.
Born in Breckenridge, Minnesota, Hendrickson moved with his mother to Minneapolis during his youth. They returned to the Colfax area in 1946.
“He continued his education at Nansen Country School No. 1 until the eighth grade,” Hendrickson’s obituary stated. “He then attended Wahpeton High School, where he graduated in 1951.”
Hendrickson is survived by many cousins, his obituary continued. Several attended the Richland 44 ceremony. Dr. John Richman, president of North Dakota State College of Science, spoke about how Hendrickson’s generosity should be a model for all.
“I’m just marveling at this,” Koppelman continued. “From the bottom of my heart and all of our hearts, we thank Darrel for this unbelievable gift.”