Former Hagerstown council member Hendershot dies

services scheduled for Tuesday

May 02, 2008

Community activist and former Hagerstown City Council member N. Linn Hendershot died Thursday, according to a family member. He was 63.

Long a champion of the disabled, Hendershot -- who breathed with the help of a ventilator and used a wheelchair because of childhood polio -- described a year ago how he wanted to leave this world.

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proudly proclaiming, 'Wow! What a ride!'"

Hendershot, who served on the city council from 2001 to 2005, worked as director of communications for the Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown.


He also was involved in the effort to bring community/senior centers to Washington County -- one of only a few counties in Maryland that doesn't have such places, he said.

In the 2007 interview, Hendershot said he lives each day like it's his last.

He was diagnosed with polio at age 3 and has used a wheelchair ever since.

About 10 years ago, Hendershot contracted bronchial pneumonia, and he needed a tracheotomy to save his life. Afterward, he breathed with the assistance of a ventilator.

"When you live on a ventilator, you look at things very differently," he said. "I try to make the next day the best it can be."

Hendershot said his condition gives him the drive to help others. And he credited his sister Marion as that person throughout his life who always gave him a nudge.

"Can't was never an option ... whatever the challenge was, she was there," he said in 2007.

Hendershot was born in Hagerstown and grew up in Warfordsburg, Pa.

He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1966, and afterward was hired as the assistant director of public relations for the Atlanta Falcons.

He left the Falcons in 1970 to pursue other professional interests, including a stint from 1992 to 1996 representing the Committee On Disability Access to ensure that the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta were accessible for people with disabilities.

It was in Atlanta after those Olympics ended that Hendershot contracted bronchial pneumonia.

In 1997, he moved back to Hagerstown to receive treatment at the Western Maryland Hospital Center on Pennsylvania Avenue. He was a resident there for 14 months.

Upon his discharge from the hospital in 1998, Hendershot stayed on as the hospital center's director of communications.

The Hagerstown Suns plan to have a moment of silence in Hendershot's memory before Friday evening's game.

Suns General Manager Will Smith said that, by coincidence, some local elected officials will be at the stadium for a 6 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday for the new infield, so he might ask them to talk a little about Hendershot.

Visitation, services announced

Visitation will be Monday from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Douglas A. Fiery Funeral Home at 1331 Eastern Blvd.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home, according to Tom Hendershot, Linn Hendershot's younger brother.

A lunch will be provided at the Warfordsburg (Pa.) Presbyterian Church Faith Center after the service and prior to the burial at the church cemetery, Tom Hendershot said.

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