Robert Hendrix, 100, of Artesian, died Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, at Prairie View Healthcare Center in Woonsocket.

Funeral services were Tuesday, Dec. 12, at First Lutheran Church in Artesian. Burial was at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Artesian. Visitation was Monday at Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Robert Dale Hendrix was born on June 11, 1923, at Artesian to Ralph and Gertrude (Bluhm) Hendrix. He attended grade school at the Lyle school in Ravenna Township and graduated from Artesian High School in 1941. After graduation, he worked at the Black Hills Mill and Sach Works in Rapid City, until enlisting in the Navy in October of 1941.

Robert served in the Navy Air Force aboard two small aircraft carriers in the North Atlantic, the Santee and the Block Island where he froze his hands and feet rescuing German sailors after their submarine was sunk and one of the grateful German sailors gave him his sailor’s hat. From there he was transferred to the USS Randolph in the Pacific under Admiral Halsy’s command that carried out missions involving several islands in the Pacific where he and two of his shipmates received the Bronze Star for their actions involving a kamikaze strike that took the lives of 25 crew members and injured over 100 more. He also spent two months in Spain under guard when their torpedo bomber had to make a forced landing, which was carrying the first magnetic guided bomb that was thought to have messed with their magnetic compass. After being released, he was back on the Randolph and was poised off the coast of Japan for the final invasion when the atomic bombs were dropped in 1945.

On Dec. 16, 1945, he married Mildred Ischen while home on leave. They moved to Norfolk, Va., and finished his tour of duty. They moved back to Artesian and farmed on the Ryan farm for two years, where their first son, Daryl, was born. They then moved to the farm north of Artesian, where their second son, Gary, was born.

Bob and Mildred were always very active in Artesian, Mitchell, and surrounding areas and rarely missed a birthday, anniversary, or other social event. They had many friends, and no one was ever a stranger to them, and they never said no when someone needed a helping hand. Robert was a member of First Lutheran Church in Artesian, a life member of the VFW, Legion and Elks Lodge, longtime member of the Moose Lodge, 4-H leader, member of the Artesian Saddle Club, and served 30 years as sexton for the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. He served for over 55 years on the Benedict Township board, was Sanborn County weed supervisor for 16 years, and drove school bus for the Artesian School District.

On May 31, 2014, Bob lost his best friend and soul mate, Mildred, after 68 years of marriage and a lengthy illness. This loss left a great void in his heart and in the hearts of all who knew and loved her. Bob moved in with his son, Gary, and with his assistance, was able to stay active on the farm for another five years. He moved into Countryside Living at the start of the pandemic and survived Covid without any symptoms.

Robert is survived by his son, Gary (Patty) Hendrix, four grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, eight great-step-grandchildren, and five great-great-step-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mildred; parents, Ralph and Gertrude Hendrix; son, Daryl; stepmother, Edna Hendrix; brother, Lyle (Elaine) Hendrix; sister, Francis (Herb) Knust; sisters-in-law, Joyce (Clell) Scott and Deloris (Grassel and husband Ted) Mathis and husband Shorty.

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