Norman John Hendry
May 19th, 1948 – March 2nd, 2010
Norman John Hendry, a cherished husband, father, grandfather, and friend passed away suddenly on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010. His life was defined by 61 years filled with art, music, humor, nature, spirituality, generosity, and the great love of his extended family and friends. An exceptional man, he lived life to its fullest and had a profound impact on those around him.
Norm was born and raised in Santa Barbara, a fifth generation Hendry of the Hendry’s Beach clan. He attended Peabody Elementary and San Marcos High School, where at 16 he met his high school sweetheart, future wife, and lifelong companion, Cassie Jane Hendry. Giving her his Saint Christopher medal, he asked her to “go steady.” This steadfastness later defined their 35-year marriage.
Norm graduated from UCSB with a degree in Religious Studies, beginning a lifelong quest to encounter the divine through nature, philosophy, meditation, and eastern and western teachings. Norm’s spiritual journey was very meaningful to him. Ultimately, it was not him who found God, but God who found him.
Norm was a gifted athlete and a skilled outdoorsman. He played baseball, football, and beach volleyball with the “Nooners.” A self-taught naturalist, backpacker, mountain biker, fisherman, and surfer, he had a deep respect for nature. He particularly relished the joys of the Santa Barbara backcountry, Big Sur, the Sierra Nevada, and the Pacific Ocean. He traveled widely, including an adventurous 3000-mile trek to Costa Rica with his family in their outfitted ’69 Chevy, “Blanco Veloz”.
Music and art were central to Norm’s life. He had a song lyric for every occasion, a camera in hand, and an eye to see the beauty all around. He enjoyed singing and playing guitar throughout his life, often serenading his wife and children. Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, The Grateful Dead, Lyle Lovett, and Ry Cooder were a few of his favorites, though his musical interests were vast.
An artist at heart, Norm fell in love with ceramics at UCSB and became a prolific and skilled potter. He founded and ran Hendry Pottery for 30 years with his wife, Cassie Jane. Together they made and sold pottery from their home studio on Mountain Drive and at the Sunday Beach Show. Norm and Cassie Jane created functional pieces with their signature fish designs and Norm also cultivated an interest in art pottery and salt firings.
The consummate teacher, Norm taught ceramics at Santa Barbara City College Adult Education for 31 years. He was a mentor and friend to his students, some of whom took his class continuously for more than 20 years. Filled with pottery, music, food, and laughter, there was never a dull moment in one of Norm’s classes.
Norm had a unique ability to connect with people. He could talk with anyone about anything. He was outrageously funny, irreverent, interested, insightful, and wise. Generous and thoughtful, he loved to help others in meaningful ways. He especially enjoyed visiting the hospital with his dog Max, as part of the Pet Therapy program.
Norm’s greatest love was his family. He is survived by his “shinin’ prides”: his daughters Cassie Koop and Isa Hendry-Eaton, stepsons Jeb and Michael Taylor, six grandchildren, sister, Heather White, ten nieces and nephews, and the love of his life, Cassie Jane Hendry. He will be missed dearly by all.
To honor Norm’s life, please join us for a memorial walk from Butterfly Beach to Hammonds Point on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm. Meet on the beach below the Southernmost Biltmore steps and please carpool. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Adult Education Ceramics Program. For more information on Norm, the walk, and donations, please visit www.normhendry.com.