Bill Hendrickson and Sally Hendrickson enjoy their respective endeavors as a radio show host and director emeritus of the Rhine Research Center
By Renee Ambroso|Photography by John Micheal Simpson
I was glad to get away from Durham then,” says Sally Feather Hendrickson. “It was a dusty town.” Sally was born and spent her formative years in the Bull City and attended Durham High School in the ’40s in the building that now houses Durham School of the Arts. “You could smell the tobacco right there,” Sally remembers. She moved to Wooster, Ohio, to attend the College of Wooster in 1947.
It was there that Sally met her future husband, William “Bill” Hendrickson, but decades before they married. “It was a small school, so I knew him [then] because he was a big man on campus with his big voice,” Sally says. “We re-connected at our 35th college reunion when he was a widower, and I was divorced from my first husband.”
The couple tied the knot in 1987 and settled in New Jersey, where Bill had spent much of his adult life. Ten years later, Bill sold his business and the pair moved south to Orange County, and then to Woodstone Apartments in Croasdaile Farm about a decade ago.
“The Croasdaile part of Durham is such a beautiful area,” Bill says. “The management of this apartment complex is wonderful. We have to do everything ourselves … but as long as we’re capable and have enough sense and physical and mental strength, we’re happy here.”
“This property that we’re on was part of the early development of Durham,” Sally explains. “Everywhere around us are remnants of that era. The huge oak trees are still, many of them, left standing, particularly in the ponds and the wooded area around us. So [to me], it’s coming home again.”
Although he moved to the Triangle later in life, Bill wasted no time putting down roots. He was invited as a guest on a WCOMLP 103.5 radio show shortly after relocating to North Carolina, then was approached to produce his own segment through the Carrboro-based nonprofit station. “This was about 17 years ago, and I’ve done a show almost every week since then.”
In that time, Bill’s aired a few interviews more than once and had some returning guests, but his outgoing nature pushes him to bring on fresh voices whenever possible. “It’s a great way to meet people,” Bill says. Former Congressman Rep. David E. Price, former deputy general counsel for the White House Office of Management and Budget and general counsel for the U.S. Agency for International Development John L.S. Simpkin, and Duke University economics professor Connel Fullenkamp, among many others, have all been guests on “Time Out with Bill Hendrickson.”
Bill, now 94, no longer commutes to the radio station each week, and instead favors using Zoom to record his hourlong conversations with guests, which air each Monday morning.
“It’s a fun show, because there’s so many interesting people in the Triangle to interview if you can get them to sit down for a while,” Bill says. “The show has introduced me to a lot of fascinating people.”
Sally keeps busy as director emeritus of the Rhine Research Center. Her father, Joseph B. Rhine, pioneered the study of parapsychology (a branch of psychology focused on psychic phenomena) at the Duke Parapsychology Lab in the 1930s until he founded the independent research center in 1965; Sally’s mother, Louisa Rhine, was equally involved in the work. Sally also participated in her parents’ research from a young age. “When I was 15, my first job was to help re-check the data,” she says. Sally became a practicing clinical psychologist herself. As a retiree, she enjoys remaining involved with the Rhine Center during her free time.
Sally recently co-published a book, “J.B. Rhine Letters, 1923-1939: ESP and the Foundations of Parapsychology,” cataloging years of her father’s correspondence, and stays involved in events, like a panel discussion at the Durham County Main Library in April that detailed the work of the parapsychology lab.
Bill still attends First Presbyterian Church – as he has since moving to North Carolina about 26 years ago, although now he joins services via Zoom – and Sally stays in shape with a SilverSneakers group at Millennium Sports Club. The couple were avid members at Hollow Rock Racquet & Swim Club – a readers’ favorite sports club in this year’s Best of Durham poll! – in their younger years.
Bill and Sally each continue to find fulfillment and connection with others through their respective endeavors. “That’s the value,” Bill explains. “When you get to be older, in your 70s, 80s and 90s, you lose a lot of friends. So, the more active you are in something that you enjoy, like Sally’s work at the Rhine Center and my work at the radio station, [the better]. We both enjoy it, and it gives us some motivation to get up in the morning and get busy.”