Phil Hendrickson, former treasurer and longtime board member of the Green Bay Packers, died Tuesday at his home in Green Bay.
Hendrickson, 97, was elected treasurer of the Green Bay Packers, Inc., on June 4, 1984, and served until 1990 when he reached the mandatory retirement age for corporate officers. Hendrickson was first elected to the executive committee on May 3, 1982. He was a board member from 1975 to 2011, when he was given emeritus status.
Hendrickson also was a prominent Green Bay businessman and an unassuming and out-of-the-spotlight philanthropist. In 1986, Hendrickson was the recipient of Green Bay’s Free Enterprise Award, which recognizes corporate CEOs, presidents and owners.
“Phil was a great supporter of the Packers and an important member of the Packers family for many years,” said Mark Murphy, the franchise’s president/CEO. “His experience was a valuable asset to the Packers Board of Directors and Executive Committee for more than three decades, and we are grateful for his contributions. Our condolences go out to his family.”
Hendrickson was named to the board when Dominic Olejniczak was president. He was named treasurer when Judge Robert Parins was president. He also was a respected confidant of Bob Harlan, who served as president or chairman and CEO from 1989 to 2008.
“Phil was a great asset for the organization, particularly with his expertise in financial matters as the business of the NFL was beginning to really grow in the 1980s,” said Harlan. “His knowledge in the investments area was also a great benefit to the organization and how we positioned ourselves for the future.”
Hendrickson played a key role with Parins in deciding to build the first luxury boxes at Lambeau. Parins and Hendrickson were longtime friends.
“Just as Bob Harlan was a leader, the Judge was the same way: A little more conservative, but he had a vision,” Hendrickson said in a 2010 interview. “That’s why we started the boxes. We needed more money. The league was pressing us. So the Judge and I went around: To Dallas, to the Giants, to the Bears, to Pittsburgh.”
Hendrickson said their most insightful visit was when they went to Soldier Field.
“At the Bears, we were walking behind the boxes and there were two men standing in the aisle, and we had to excuse ourselves to walk by,” said Hendrickson. “The Judge said, ‘We’re going to make the room in back of ours one or two feet wider and we did.’”
Hendrickson was born in Camp Douglas, Wis., and grew up in Madison. Upon being discharged from the Navy in August 1946, he went to Harvard Business School.
He moved to Green Bay in 1950 to become secretary-treasurer of what was then Krueger Metal Products, now named KI. Hendrickson became president of the company in 1967 and chairman of the board in 1983. He retired and was replaced as chairman by Richard Resch in January 1985.
In October 2004, Hendrickson served as host to his former World War II shipmates during a Packers-New York Giants game at Lambeau Field. Hendrickson served on the USS Nicholson, a destroyer that received 10 battle stars and saw action in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Hendrickson served 56 months in the Navy and achieved the rank of lieutenant commander.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 25, at First United Methodist Church, 501 Howe St., Green Bay. A reception in Hendrickson’s honor will follow at the St. Norbert College Hendrickson Dining Room. He will be buried with full military honors next to Betsy, his wife of more than 65 years, at Baileys Harbor Town Cemetery. Betsy died in 2013.
(Aaron Popkey, Packers director of public affairs, also contributed to this story.)