Architect and activist Ron Hendrickson dies at 85

Ronald Hendrickson: July 3, 1928 — Sept. 7, 2013

He planned and designed Irvine Co. projects and had a hand in several ballot measures over the years.

October 04, 2013|From the Hendrickson family, Special to the Daily Pilot
  • Ron Hendrickson, 85, right, seen on his 85th birthday in July. He died in September.
Ron Hendrickson, 85, right, seen on his 85th birthday… (Hendrickson family )

Architect and community activist Ron Hendrickson died at his home in Newport Beach last month after battling esophageal cancer. He was 85.

Hendrickson and his identical twin, Don, were born July 3, 1928, to Harvey and Sophia Hendrickson in Glendale. The twins graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Architecture in 1951.

After graduation, Hendrickson worked in facilities engineering at North American Aviation Co. for two years, and then began his architectural career with Van Dyke Associates, Architects & Engineers in Los Angeles.

He met Novella DuVardo, a UCLA graduate and teacher at Venice High School, and they married in 1955. Ron became a licensed architect and was installed into the American Institute of Architects during a ceremony at the home of renowned architect Paul Williams.

In 1960, Hendrickson designed and built the couple's hillside home in Studio City, where they lived with their children, Scott and Nancy. In 1973, the family moved to Newport Beach, and Hendrickson began his career with the Irvine Co. He rose to the position of senior director of urban planning and design, responsible for the planning and design for all Irvine Co. projects.


During this time, he served as facilitator of the city's Bridge Action Team, where he built consensus on the height of Back Bay Bridge at Coast Highway. The state built the six-lane bridge, which opened in the early 1980s.

Hendrickson also served as president of the Newport Hills Community Assn. He chaired the Architectural Design Review Board. He retired from the Irvine Co. in 1991.

After retirement, he had ample time to devote to his four grandchildren, along with learning Italian, remodeling his home, finishing the tracing of the family genealogy, visiting Italy to find Novella's relatives, and participating in community issues. Hendrickson studied Italian at Orange Coast College, and subsequently helped form Gruppo d' Italiano with fellow students. He studied the language for 21 years and was fluent in the spoken and written word.

Hendrickson was on the building committee for St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, where he helped plan the youth center in 2005. He was also a Sunday school teacher for grades three and four, greeter and usher, and he served on the congregational care committee.

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