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Military medal winner, 77, dies

Burial services were held Monday for James P. Hendrix, a Medal of Honor winner who met seven presidents and fought in two wars.

Hendrix, a Lepanto, Ark., native who lived in Davenport for 36 years, died Thursday (Nov. 14, 2002) of throat cancer. He was 77.

Hendrix earned the military's highest honor for his bravery in the Battle of the Bulge. He was a 19-year-old Army private on Dec. 26, 1944, when he single-handedly disarmed and captured 13 German soldiers huddled in a foxhole after killing a 14th.

In the days that followed, he also pulled two helpless soldiers from a burning tank, despite being under heavy fire.

"I knew I didn't want to die," Hendrix told the Orlando Sentinel in September 2001. "I just wanted to get back home. I remember lying in the snow, a big sweat boiling off my head and I was freezing. But I got through it. That's all I wanted, was to come out of that alive."

Hendrix also distinguished himself during the Korean War by completing a parachute attack behind enemy lines.

"He's been our own hero," said Dale Dunlap, the mayor of Lepanto, where a large mural depicting Hendrix sits at the edge of town. "You don't have very many congressional Medal of Honor winners in any town, so he was a pretty big deal."

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Helen Hendrix, and four daughters. Burial was at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.

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