WILMINGTON — Lee Hendee’s legacy in Wilmington will never be signing off.
From city officials to local business owners, local residents remember the impact the local DJ and founder of WALH radio left.
“He never gave up,” said Danny Mongold. “Through a lot of hard work, many phone calls, long days and long hours, Lee did it! He’ll be greatly missed in our community.”
Wilmington City Council member Jonathan McKay described Hendee as “a friend and a wonderful community member.”
“He cared deeply about Wilmington and Clinton County and always wanted the latest news and what was going on,” he said.
McKay recalled that during election season Hendee would do interviews with the local candidates, and how election night was always special at the station.
“We would break in with results and have people popping in and out with updates and news,” said McKay.
When Gene Coffman became the President of Wilmington Savings, Hendee was introduced to him and said, according to McKay, “We need you to come in for an interview.”
Within the week, they were on the air.
McKay said this was the type of man Hendee was — never showing favorites, he did what was best for the community, and he kept everyone informed.
“I want to thank Lee and his family for all that they did for this county. He will be truly missed,” said McKay.
Council member Kelsey Swindler said she’s heartbroken that Hendee’s energy at WALH is gone. But she said she has nothing but incredible memories of him.
“He was one of the most positive people I ever met,” said Swindler. “He was a huge supporter of the hospital and everything we’ve done at the hospital. He loved being a part of the action.”
Swindler, who first met Hendee in 2012, said it’s hard to quantify how much of an impact he left, but that he’ll never be forgotten.
“What he built will last a long time. His passion was so infectious,” she said.
Orange Frazer Publishing project manager Sarah Hawley said Hendee was always good to them. He was always eager to invite the authors they publish to talk about their books.
“We were always appreciative of the extra publicity and his support. It’s difficult to get publicity for books and Lee made it very easy. We will certainly miss his kind spirit,” said Hawley.
Council member Mark McKay said Hendee was the voice of Wilmington and Clinton County.
“He made it his business to know just about everybody, their relatives and how they fit into our special way of life here,” he said.
A third McKay, Rod, said that Hendee, under his broadcast tent by the grandstand at the fairgrounds, was a comforting site to see. He said every year Hendee would interview him about his tractors.
Outside of the festivals, Rod would be asked to come to the station and give a weather report.
“Today is cloudy with teardrops and a ray of sunshine in my memory,” said Rod.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574