Aaron W. HENDRY

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HENDRY, Aaron W.

fourth generation Floridian, passed away peacefully at his home on Oct. 3, 2016 at the age of 80. A descendant of one of Florida's earliest pioneer families, Aaron was born in Tampa and lived there his entire life. He was predeceased by his parents, Captain F.M. Hendry and Martha Crowder Hendry, and his two brothers, Mark Crowder Hendry and Harold Merle Hendry. He leaves behind his wife, Barbara Madden Hendry; his children, Martha Kelly Hendry, Aaron Ward Hendry II, Franklin Mark Hendry (Misty), and David Dixon Hendry (Linleigh); as well as his stepchildren, James Michael Hendry and Alexis Suzanne Hendry (Raymond Herrero); and his beloved grandchildren Anthony Puglisi, Samantha Puglisi, and Brittany Kate Hendry.

Aaron graduated from Tampa elementary schools, Tennessee Military Institute, and Georgia Institute of Technology, where he became a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Aaron earned his MBA from the University of Tampa and was a graduate of the prestigious Harvard Business School's Owner/President Management Program.

From the age of sixteen, Aaron started working in the family maritime business that Captain F.M. Hendry started in 1926. When Captain Hendry died in 1968, Aaron and his brother Harold continued to run Hendry Corporation. In 1983, Aaron became the sole owner and President of the company. Over the years, the Hendry Corporation completed hundreds of dredging projects such as Lummis Island at the Port of Miami; Trident Submarine Basin at Cape Canaveral; Rattle Snake Point south of the Gandy Bridge; Port Manatee harbor; and 70 acres of land at Adamo Drive. In 1988, Aaron purchased assets of Gulf Tampa Dry-dock to form Gulf Marine Repair Corporation, a leading ship repair company in the Southeast. From 1998 to 2008, Aaron and his partner, Tom Bender, revived Tampa Shipbuilding & Repair, known as the "big yard", which had lain dormant for many years. This venture put hundreds of employees back to work and although the yard has changed ownership, it has remained in continuous operation since its revival 18 years ago. Today, Hendry Marine Industries is a holding company for Hendry Corporation, Gulf Marine and two other companies: Universal Environmental Solutions, providing marine environmental services, and Port Hendry Terminals, a stevedoring and terminal operations company.

Aaron has a long history of philanthropy and community service, starting at age 13 when he became the then youngest Eagle Scout in Hillsborough County. Most of Aaron's focus has been toward helping young people. He helped build baseball fields, sometimes operating the bulldozer himself, for Palma Ceia Little League, Robinson High School, and University of Tampa. He supported the STEPS program (job training for at-risk youth), Junior Achievement, Sea Scouts, and port exhibits at both the Glazer Children's Museum and the Tampa History Center. Aaron endowed scholarships at Georgia Tech and the University of Tampa. He is a past president of the Propeller Club, member of the year awardee and recipient of the club's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Aaron was honored by Tampa Port Ministries in 2005 with the Captain James McKay Port Achievement Award. He served on the Port of Tampa Maritime Industries Association board since its inception in 2005. From 2011-2015, Aaron served as chairman of the board for the American Victory Ship Mariners' Museum and through his companies contributed many dry-docking and repair services so she could continue "Relive History" cruises in Port of Tampa. Aaron was also a longtime member of Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club and Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

Perhaps Aaron's greatest contribution was the employment he provided to others. Thousands of young people gained valuable work experience, training, and education by working for Aaron's companies. Many spent their entire careers at his companies, advancing into management and executive positions. Others moved on to other opportunities in the maritime industry, even going to work for competitors, but all the while remaining friends with Aaron. In 2010, Aaron started the A.W. Hendry Training Center. This facility has provided training in welding and other shipyard trades and crafts. Aaron believed that the men and women who worked for him were his company's most important asset. This strong appreciation for his workers motivated Aaron last year to reward his employees with 49% of Hendry Marine Industries through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Aaron was proud his employees were now also his co-owners.

Aaron's loves were family, work, and the sea - especially on his boat the Vegas Gal. He was a devoted husband, a loving, and understanding father, and a master to a series of very spoiled dachshunds.

Donations can be made to either of the following charities, both of which were favorites of Aaron's or : The American Victory Ship Mariners Memorial Museum, 705 Channelside Dr., Tampa, FL 33602 (813) 228-8766 or Tampa Port Ministries, Inc., 1309 Shoreline Ave., Tampa, FL 33605 (813) 247-5237. Flowers may be sent to Blount & Curry Funeral Home, 605 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, FL 33609.

Viewing will be on Monday, Oct. 10 at Blount and Curry - MacDill, 605 S. MacDill Ave. from 5-7 pm. Funeral Service on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at St. John's Episcopal Church, 906 S. Orleans Ave., Tampa, 33606 at 1:30 pm. Burial immediately after Service at Myrtle Hill Cemetery. A Reception will follow at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club, 1601 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, 33629 at 3:30 pm.
Published in the Tampa Bay Times from Oct. 7 to Oct. 11, 2016
Arrangements under the direction of:
Blount & Curry Funeral Home - Macdill Chapel
605 S MACDILL AVE | Tampa, FL 33609 | (813) 876-2421
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