Longtime Charlottesville City Manager dies

A man who spent 25 years as the City Manager of Charlottesville has died. Cole Hendrix served from 1971 to 1996 and presided over the conversion of Main Street into the Downtown Mall

“During his tenure he provided stable, professional management and leadership, and mentored many young public administrators,” reads a message sent out Wednesday by the City of Charlottesville. “He and his wife Janet continued to be part of our community after his retirement.”

I spoke with Janet Hendrix in September at the studios of I Love Cville on Market Street. 

“He came from Kansas City, Missouri,” Janet Hendrix said. “He went to school at [Kansas University] and got his master’s in public administration.” 

Janet Hendrix said that Cole Hendrix worked a series of jobs in cities and towns across the United States before becoming assistant city manager in Kansas City.  That’s when he was offered the job in Charlottesville. 

“He was just 36 when he came,” Janet Hendrix said. “Just a pup.” 

Cole Hendrix

The area was a lot different fifty years ago.

“The old K-Mart was a dairy farm, or behind there was a dairy farm,” Hendrix said. 

Janet met Cole during his tenure as City Manager and said the workload for the position was a lot even back then.

“Cole would come home every night and he would sit in his chair and he would work every night, but he was home for dinner,” Janet Hendrix said. “Council meetings, sometimes he wasn’t home until 1 in the morning, and that’s just how it was.”

After retirement, Cole Hendrix went to work for the University of Virginia as an associate vice president.

“The last thing he did while he was at the University was he was the acting director of finance while they were doing a search for a new finance director,” Janet Hendrix said.

Cole Hendrix would also play a frequent role as fill-in manager for towns and counties across Virginia when they were looking for a permanent occupant. 

“He actually was hired to stay for a while in one in which they were getting a new sewer treatment place together and they really needed his expertise and background in doing that,” Janet Hendrix said. “He helped them with that. It’s been a great life.” 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the November 17, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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