Theodore W. 'Ted' Hendricks Jr., former longtime Baltimore Sun federal courts reporter, dies

Theodore W. “Ted” Hendricks Jr., who as a Baltimore Sun reporter covered federal courts for more than three decades, died in his sleep Wednesday at Oak Crest Village retirement community. The former Cedarcroft resident was 95.

“The word that comes to mind about Ted is ‘unflappable,’ ” said Frank P.L. Somerville, a retired veteran Baltimore Sun reporter and religion editor. “Some of us young reporters, especially when encountering a good story, were more excitable…. Perhaps the source of his more placid approach to the news was his greater maturity.

“Those were the good old days when The Sun had multiple reporters covering the courts. Ted’s beat was the federal courts exclusively,” said Mr. Somerville, a Homewood resident. “He really was a very nice guy.”

Theodore William Hendricks Jr. was born in Baltimore and raised on Robb Street, the son of Theodore W. Hendricks Sr., an Aberdeen Proving Ground electrician, and Julia Daley Hendricks, a school teacher.

He graduated from City College High School in 1941, then attended what is now Loyola University Maryland for two years before enlisting in the Army in 1943.

He served with the 103rd Infantry in France and southern Germany as a fire-direction computer — meaning he computed angles and range for artillery pieces. He was discharged with the rank of corporal.

After the war, he entered St. John’s College in Annapolis. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1950, the same year he joined The Sun at its old Sun Square Building at Baltimore and Charles streets.

He was born with printer’s ink in his veins; his maternal grandfather, Francis Daley, had been The Sun’s financial editor and an uncle, also named Francis Daley, was a newspaper reporter.

Mr. Hendricks chiefly reported from federal courts throughout his lengthy career. A rather phlegmatic man, he spent most of his day out of the newsroom, returning late in the afternoon to write of the day’s proceedings.

In The Sun’s old Calvert Street building, he would troop along the hallway dressed in a carefully pressed suit and tie and wearing a long overcoat and a somewhat rumpled tweed hat. His other trademarks were an old-fashioned briefcase and an ever-present pipe.

He looked as though he’d be more at home on a college campus as a tenured professor than as a newspaperman.

“Ted was a very conscientious court reporter,” said Robert A. Erlandson, of Towson, a retired Sun reporter and foreign correspondent. “He and the late George Hiltner, who covered state courts across the street, gave The Sun a very comprehensive courts coverage team.”

“Ted was a matter-of-fact reporter on the federal court beat, not a flashy writer,” said David Michael Ettlin, of Pasadena, a newspaperman with The Sun who retired as night editor.

One of the highlights of Mr. Hendricks’ career was covering the 1968 indictment and subsequent sentencing of members of the Catonsville Nine — the Rev. Philip Berrigan, S.S.J., the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., Thomas L. Lewis, George Mische, Brother David Darst, John Hogan, Thomas Melville, Marjorie B. Melville and Mary Moylan. This was the group that raided a Frederick Road office of the Selective Service in May of that year.

Mr. Hendricks retired in 1984.

A deeply religious man, he was a longtime communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Cedarcroft, where he served on the vestry and taught confirmation classes.

In 1976, he obtained a master’s degree in sacred theology from St. Mary’s Seminary and University. His thesis, family members said, was on the theology found in “Alice in Wonderland.”

Mr. Hendricks moved to Oak Crest Village, where he edited the retirement community’s newsletter, played chess and organized a bridge club. In the afternoon, he enjoyed listening to opera and classical music.

His wife of 54 years, the former Jeen Procaska, died in 2005.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at his church, which is now the Church of the Nativity and Holy Comforter, Cedarcroft and York roads.

Mr. Hendricks is survived by sons Theodore W. Hendricks III of Remington, Robert Daley Hendricks of Snow Hill and Elliott Mitchell Hendricks of Dragoon, Ariz.; daughters Amanda Cunningham of the Arcadia neighborhood of Northeast Baltimore and Frances Bhushan of Logan, Utah; a sister, Elizabeth Deisher of York, Pa.; eight grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

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