Lucile McKee Hendricks
Widely known as McAllen's First Lady, Lucile McKee Hendricks spent a lifetime in advocacy and serving the public good. When local women today serve in a position of leadership, there is a good chance that door was first opened by Lucile Hendricks.
A trailblazer in career, politics and education, Hendricks achieved many "firsts" in her life. She was the first woman elected to McAllen School Board (making her the first female elected official in Hidalgo County's history, according to an article in the Valley Town Crier). She served three terms on the MISD board and was its first woman president (1959-60). She was the first lady on the Building Board of Adjustments and Appeals. She was also the recipient of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce's inaugural Woman of the Year award in 1957. Some feel the award was created specifically to honor her.
She was born in 1909 in Tennessee and moved to McAllen in 1926. After she married builder Harold Hendricks, she learned the business by maintaining his books. Her family business built the original PSJA High School, the Easter Seals Center in McAllen and the Harlingen Post Office. They built to edifices for Rio Grande Children's Home at cost. Her husband passed away in 1964, but she continued to run the business. The last structure she oversaw was the Tavarez Clinic near Rio Grande Regional Hospital.
She was also an honorary member of the Texas Society of Architects and served on the Housing Authority Commission for 18 years plus the McAllen Planning and Zoning Commission. A lover of history and fine arts, she helped petition the city to build the Civic Center on N. 10th St.
"She was very patriotic and that is something we will instill in our students," Hendricks Principal Sandra Salinas said. "She had previously been named the Zonta Shining STAR, so that our mascot, the STARS, is a symbol of her."
The McAllen City Commission honored her with a proclamation for Lucile Hendricks Day on Feb. 24, 2004. She passed away Nov. 6, 2007, at age 98. The McAllen School Board named a new elementary school Lucile McKee Hendricks Elementary on July 17, 2008. The facility, funded by the 2005 School Bond, opened for the 2008-09 school year