January 27, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

‘Julie has been the backbone of this village for a long time’

Julie Hendrickson loves St. Joseph.

And a piece of the small town’s footprint will soon step away from a long-time role she’s held with the village.
Hendrickson, the St. Joseph Village office manager, is retiring on Friday after serving the St. Joseph community for almost 22 years.

“She cares and loves our community and is always willing to help people,” St. Joseph treasurer Debbie Routh said.

 Routh said she calls Hendrickson the St. Joseph encyclopedia because if a resident has a question, Hendrickson usually knows the answer.

“Julie is very knowledgeable and our residents know their questions will always be answered,” Routh said.

That knowledge and helpfulness wasn’t just reserved for village residents. Hendrickson was always willing to help her co-workers, said Luke Fisher, the village’s Assistant Public Works Superintendent.

“Whenever I needed something, she never hesitated to stop what she was doing to help,” Fisher said.

Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges agreed.

“Julie has been the backbone of this village for a long time,” she said.  “She has touched so many lives through her years working as our Village Office Manager.  Her job handling the day-to-day dealings of the village has been I’m sure, both challenging and rewarding.”

Fruhling-Voges has been serving the village since 2004, first as a trustee and now mayor. She said Hendrickson has been there for her every step of the way.

“I’m going to miss her more than she will know,” Fruhling-Voges said.  

“I’ve counted on Julie for so many things.  She has provided not only administrative help with village business, but most of all the personal support through the ups and downs will always mean the most to me.  We have shared many tears and laughter through the years, so as happy as I am for her to be moving forward into retirement I will miss her dearly.”

Hendrickson said while she is looking forward to retiring, she will miss her coworkers and people in the community who come to village hall looking for solutions for problems, to pay their sewer bills or just to visit. Hendrickson said dealing with the public was a large part of her job.

“There is a lot more to this job than meets the eye,” she said. “It’s not just payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and utility billing.”

Trustee Jim Wagner said it was Hendrickson’s support, knowledge, and words of encouragement is one of the reasons he joined the village board.

“She is always willing to be there for questions and guidance,” he said. “A few times a week in the morning I always stop in and say hi she always has a smile on her face and if I needed something done she is always happy to help.”

Wagner said Hendrickson always has the best interest of the village in mind when making decisions and is always working to better the community.

“Julie started the splash pad fundraising she is very passionate about this project and will continue on with this during her retirement,” Wagner said.

Routh said Hendrickson’s love of her community extended to those in need, and Routh witnessed Hendrickson pay sewer bills for residents that were struggling with her own money.

“She has a kind heart and no one is a stranger to her,” she said.

Friend Cheryl Peters agreed.

“Julie is the one person I can count on for anything. She is thoughtful and helpful,” Peters said. “She loves helping people and does so without complaining. She has always put her job and others before herself.”

The village will honor Hendrickson with an open house at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at the Municipal Building at 207 E. Lincoln.  The public is invited to attend.

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