John V. Hendricks Jr., 95, co-founder of a veterans museum.

Posted: July 11, 2014

THE USS PASADENA slammed through some of the toughest battles in the South Pacific in World War II.

The light cruiser earned six battle stars in engagements against Luzon and Formosa, covered landings for the bitter battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, then hammered military and industrial targets on the Japanese coast in anticipation of an invasion.

And Bud Hendrick was there.

The invasion never happened, of course. The Japanese surrendered on Aug. 14, 1945, after two atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Perhaps as a kind of reward for services rendered, Bud and his Pasadena crew got to witness the official surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945.

Although he rarely talked about his war experiences, his family said, some of Bud's tales of battle are available with a touch of the finger on the screen of one of the many kiosks at the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum, which he helped found, in Media.

John V. Hendrick Jr., who went on to a long career in the pharmaceutical industry, a vet dedicated to preserving the memories of America's wars and the sacrifices made by the men and women who fought them, died June 24. He was 95 and lived in Wallingford.

Bud was an engineer on the Pasadena and when the shooting started, he would be deep in the bowels of the ship - actually locked in, with no way to escape.

"The engineering department is down about two decks below the waterline," Bud told Daily News writer William Bender in 2010. "The first time I went down there in general quarters - that's when you're under fire - and they closed the hatches down and there's no way out. That was scary."

Bud's stories are among the many oral histories available in the museum, located in a former National Guard armory, now also occupied by a Trader Joe's.

Another Navy veteran, Ed Buffman, a co-founder of the museum, describes in his kiosk what it's like to survive a Japanese kamikaze, or suicide, attack. Buffman was serving on the Missouri when the attack occurred on April 11, 1945.

A photo shows the Japanese Zero heading for the ship.

"That kamikaze came in on the starboard side," Buffman says on the screen. "When it hit, the Japanese pilot was cut in half and rolled out onto the deck."

The museum opened on Veterans Day 2005, with Bud Hendrick, Ed Buffman and Media Mayor Bob McMahon showing visitors around.

More exhibits have been added over the years, and the museum now has exhibits of the Korean War and World War I. Large photos of historical moments are displayed, including one of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin meeting in Tehran, Iran.

Another shows Hitler and his gang of thugs walking side by side on a street in Nuremberg at the height of Nazi power.

There is a display honoring women who served in World War II with kiosks on which women tell their experiences as WACS and WAVES.

Glass cases display German and Japanese weapons. In a back room, visitors are startled by the lifelike model of an officer seated on a lower bunk reading a letter. Nearby is a footlocker with clothing and a vintage typewriter with a half-finished letter.

Bud Hendrick was a vice chairman and curator of the museum, and often acted as a guide until he became ill in 2011. The museum is supported by government grants and private contributions.

"The museum was his passion," his family said in a tribute. "He told everyone he met to go there and take their families."

His granddaughter, Sharon Ferry, wrote a children's book in 2010, explaining Veterans Day to children. It was titled Granddad Bud. He and Sharon held well-attended book signings.

Bud grew up in Germantown and lived in Drexel Hill before moving to Wallingford in 1988.

He worked as a pharmaceutical representative for the wholesale division of Smith, Kline & French for 36 years. He later joined Suburban Medical Services in Newtown Square as manager of pharmaceutical purchasing.

Bud was a member and lector at St. Dorothy Parish in Drexel Hill. Later, he was a 27-year member of St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church in Wallingford.

He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3460 in Media.

His wife of 71 years, the former Alice Gallagher, died last October. He is survived by three daughters, Barbara Murphy, Donna Procaccio and Meg DeFeo; a son, Jack; 16 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

Services: Were June 28. Burial was in Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum, 12 E. State St., Media, Pa. 19063.

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