1894 - 1968
Karl J. Hendershott was born July 20, 1894 and raised in Barry County, Michigan. Following his graduation from Lansing High School, Mr. Hendershott served his country in the Marine Corps during World War I. He attended and graduated from Michigan State University in 1920. That same year he moved to Okanogan and in 1921 moved to Chelan. On June 24, 1924, he married Elizabeth Chamberlain in Seattle.
Mr. Hendershott was selected by the eight founding members of Lake Chelan Fruit Growers in 1921 to lead the burgeoning cooperative as its manager. The foundation established by Mr. Hendershott and the original members of Lake Chelan Fruit Growers led to the eventual formation of the largest fresh fruit apple packing cooperative in the world (currently knows as Chelan Fruit Cooperative). In the early 1920s, Mr. Hendershott steered the move from Lake Chelan Fruit Growers’ original facilities to the Cooperative’s current location in preparation for the reconfiguration of Lake Chelan and the building of the Lake Chelan Hydro-Electric Dam.
“Mr. Trout”, as he was endearingly termed by industry friends (the cooperative’s apple box label featured the depiction of a fresh trout), served as the association’s manager from its inception in 1921 until his retirement in 1966. Mr. Raymond O’Neal, one of the growers involved in creating the scholarship honoring Mr. Hendershott speaks fondly of his association with him, “Mel Crowder, Paul Peters, Leo Crowder and I established the scholarship in memory of our friend, Karl. He helped the growers by running a good organization and consistently returned a profit. We wanted him to be remembered.”
In addition to his professional service, Mr. Hendershott was active in many community affairs, including leadership roles as president of the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Chelan and a member of many other fraternal and civic organizations. Mr. Hendershott was elected mayor of Chelan in 1929 and served through 1932.
In 1946, prior to the construction of the Lake Chelan Community Hospital, Mr. Hendershott was named president of the Lake Chelan Hospital Association, chairman of its board of directors and was instrumental in establishing the institution. He served as a director for 20 years. It was noted that although the photograph cannot be found, it was probably he who ceremoniously dug the first shovel of dirt starting construction of the current Lake Chelan Community Hospital.
Contributions made by Mr. Hendershott to the citizens of Chelan, growers and development of the apple industry in the Lake Chelan Valley were not unnoticed. To honor him, the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce named him Citizen of the Year in 1967.
Karl Hendershott was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and their two sons, Robert and Karl, Jr.
The scholarship in his honor assists young people from Washington state pursuing a career in production tree fruit agriculture.