At the age of 94 years, Paul Anton Hendrich went to meet his heavenly father on February 18, 2023, at SunPorch of Smith Center, KS. His earthly journey began on November 16, 1928, with a warm Christian welcome by his parents, Louis John & Marie Lydia (Kejr) Hendrich, Czechoslovakian immigrants that had settled in Sylvan Grove, Kansas. Paul was the sixth child to join the Czech speaking family of nine siblings, seven of which were brothers.
Since he was born with weak sight in one eye, he was compelled to wear glasses from a very young age. His younger brother, Clarence, thought he looked like a studious little man and began calling him “The Professor”, which over time and familiar usage was shortened to “Prof”. He readily answered to the nickname and never seemed to mid the affectionate moniker. It was used so often that many of the younger generation erroneously thought it was his given name.
Although Paul was born in Sylvan Grove, Louis and Marie bought a farm in Smith County and moved their large brood of boys onto a farmstead several miles north of Portis where Paul spent the rest of his childhood. And that is where his love of farming and all things mechanical was nurtured and grew into a lifetime of working the soil and maintaining farm machinery.
After graduating from Portis High School in 1947, he attended Norris Baptist Bible Seminary near Ft. Worth, TX for one year. He then joined his Uncle Joe Kejr in Colorado to farm until 1957. From there he and several of his brothers formed a joint farming operation near Brush, Colorado until he partnered with his brother, Joe, near Akron, Colorado in 1963 doing what the family loved best, turning the soil of the heartland into fertile plains of harvest.
Over three decades later he returned to Kansas to care for his aging mother and to farm with his brother, Clarence, in 1981. It was a familiar sight to see him leaning under a hood with a couple of his brothers discussing the best way to make a repair. Together they were mechanical wizards, always able to come up with a solution. Many of his extended family members recall the familiar sight of his oil-stained jeans poking out from under a vehicle or his threadbare flannel shirt covered in chaff from the inner workings of a combine. He was very proud of his John Deere 105 combine that he brought with him from Colorado, along with a Versatile tractor and a 1972 F-250 Ford pick-up truck that is cherished to this day by a great-nephew who plans to restore it to its former glory.
During the years of 1983 to 1993, not only did he farm, but he pursued a new joint-venture in elevator operations with his brother, Clarence, and nephew, Russell, in the ownership of Montrose Grain in Montrose, KS.
Although he wished for a family of his own, Paul never married but accepted his brother’s children as his family and bestowed on each of them an extra measure of gentle wisdom and soft-spoken care. Paul was a shy man but a powerhouse in his convictions from his daily reading of God’s Word with a magnifying glass, prayer, and listening to Christian radio broadcasts. He professed to love Jesus for redeeming his soul and forgiving his sins and he lived out his faith in front of his family and acquaintances. Anyone that knew Paul recognized from his gentle smile that he was a kind soul, extremely generous with his time and resources and appreciative of all that was done for him. He helped fix many a vehicle, made loans to many family members for various reasons, and gave generously and consistently to many mission organizations and causes that he felt would honor his beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, and further the advancement of his kingdom.
Back to the Bible Foundation and TransWorld Radio were two of the main mission outreach organizations that he faithfully supported financially and, in his prayers, but there were many more. He could be found most days pouring over his mail, reading missionary letters and reports so that he could more effectively pray for them. Although his contributions to this world most often faded into the background of noisy life, we can confidently conclude that he received a commendation of “Well, done, good and faithful servant” as he stepped into heaven’s golden streets and straight into the arms of Jesus.
He was preceded in death by his parents, infant sister, Lydia, and four brothers, Samuel, Theophil, Daniel, and Joseph. At the end of his 94-year journey on this earth, Paul is survived by three brothers, Timothy (Naomi) Hendrich of Harlan, KS, Clarence (Willa) Hendrich of Portis, KS, Harry (Marjorie) Hendrich of Smith Center, KS along with many nieces and nephews. The memory of Paul is held in our hearts with fondness, and we look forward to that day when we will see him again in his perfect heavenly form.