Lately, I have looked at the birth date and the passing date of too many of my family and friend’s. But that little line which separates the dates, is something that tells the legacy of a person. Moms little line was something else, looking back at what she did and how she lived her life, making sure we all had what we wanted and making sure others were taken care of as well. I hope everyone can recall the memories, see her legacy as you read through “Mom’s little line”.
So, the past several years my mother could not live in Fairfax because of her health-care needs. But she never quit thinking and wondering how things were going back at home, Fairfax. Her highlight of the week was to get the Fairfax Chief to read and keep up with her hometown. Many of her friends and family went well before her, but she had all their memories and obituaries on her wall, which we would share stories about all the time.
I look back and wonder what Fairfax would have been without people like mom, who truly love this wonderful small town we call home. There were many others that passed before mom and others who are still there making their “little lines” as well, keeping Fairfax moving in their own little ways.
Fairfax is a town rich with Oklahoma history and that our family has called home for over more than 105 years. We remember the packed main streets on Saturdays growing up in an oil-field and ranching town that was thriving. We remember the Friday and Saturday nights when people would wait in line for the chance to enjoy a large steak, fresh fries and homemade gravy at the place everyone knew as Jumps. After a full belly, folks would end up dancing into the night at Jumps Dance Hall, where bands like Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Conway Twitty, and Loretta Lynn played for the local crowds. Mom loved to dance!! I was blessed to dance with her several times at the last Fairfax Alumni dance on main street a few years back, even in her seventies she could still glide smoothly across a dance floor!! The town has changed, but the memories we all have are alive and well.
Mary Jo, a woman with a big heart who put her time, sweat and pain into making Fairfax what it was and still is remembered for today! It is always easy to start something new but keeping something going like a café, for more than 66 years is truly an experience and incredible achievement that very few people can say they have done!
On February 19, 2011 mom officially retired from her business duties. Mom commented several times that we would probably bury her behind the griddle. She would be just fine there, but her health just didn’t allow her to continue for that to happen.
On December 8, 2021 in Bartlesville, Okla. mom went home peacefully with her family gathered around her bed.
We would like to share some of mom’s accomplishments and activities she completed for her family, the Fairfax Schools and the Fairfax community. Mom was born just outside of Fairfax in 1940. At age two, she moved into town and grew up on the north end of Fairfax where her father (Lonas), mother (Maude), older brother (Sonny) and younger sister (Billie), began to develop several businesses such as, Roller Inn Café, Roller Inn Skating Rink & Dance Hall, Roller Inn Motel and Jumps Trucking Company. Over the years, the family has also owned a grocery store, a Five and Dime Store, a cake decorating business, a full-service gas station, a feed store, a coin operated laundry, and a package store.
Mom began waiting tables in the Café before she was seven years old. She worked in and around the motel and café through school and at age 16 married her high school sweetheart, Cleo (Runt) Hendrix. It took only 3 months until Mom was working the morning shift and Dad was cooking the evening shift at the café at a time when it was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They worked together in the Café until my father passed away in November of 2003.
Mom owned and operated a cake baking and decorating business in which she made birthday, wedding and anniversary cakes seven days a week for just over 20 years. She was the first in the area to use cake molds and video decorating techniques to transform cakes into art.
Other special activities she was involved in include the VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 4790 where she was President from 1985-1987 and the Area Unlimited President from 1989-1991. She was awarded the Business Woman of the Year for Fairfax in 1999 by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and recognized as the Business Woman Who’s Who in 1994 and 1995. She was recognized by the Tulsa World newspaper as “Woman of the 80’s”. Throughout her career, the café, dance hall and motel were featured in many Oklahoma newspapers such as the Tulsa World, the Daily Oklahoman, and the Oklahoma Living Magazine. There were also several TV interviews including Channel 8 and Channel 2 from Tulsa, Oklahoma City Stations 6 and 8 and an interview for the Oklahoma Road Show filmed for Channel 11 out of Oklahoma City.
Mom had two children, a daughter, Barbra Jo, and a son, John. Mom stayed very active in our school activities, making sure not to miss anything. She was a girl scout leader for 5 years, band booster president for multiple years, followed all school sporting activities and never missed a football game until the early 90’s! She was very active in the Fairfax Alumni Association holding the President and Treasurer positions several times. She has always supported the school and continued to wear the Red Devil shirts until she passed. Like others, Mom loved her Fairfax Red Devils! I can remember her voice many times, while standing in the huddle on a cold October evening. It was like she was standing there with us, urging us on (she was pretty loud). Mom loved her football, especially her Dallas Cowboys! In her room at the Bartlesville Nursing Center, two or three of the nurses would end up in her room on Sunday to catch the scores or just to sit with her awhile to watch a few plays. She had her room dressed in her Cowboys gear and each weekend had the play times of OSU, OU and the Cowboys down so she wouldn’t miss a thing.
Another important trait that mom had is that she truly loved people. You never saw a sign in any of her businesses that turned away people for any reason. She provided meals to people who could not pay on many occasions. She said she just couldn’t let anyone go without food. She also provided a place for folks to stay when they didn’t have a place to go. The motel and café were a place for everyone--she wouldn’t let anyone go without a warm meal or a place to lay their head.
Her most important work was always continuing to raise two grown kids, 4 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and two little doggy friends, Foxy and Stormy. What mom truly missed, was seeing the people that pass through the café, just talking with them and making sure everything was ok, and passing along that —"so long, hope to see ya back soon” motto of hers.
Mom was blessed so many times by health care workers, many who has seen her struggle through some incredible issues, words cannot say enough here!
It takes something more than just love, patience, dedication, hard work, and unselfishness to keep more than one business going for so many years! We truly will never know what it takes to complete this task, but we know one incredible woman who has lived her dreams and this wonderful journey—that little line, her legacy, our mother, Mary Jo.
Mom you can now rest in peace, you have your place in heaven, no more dialysis and pain. This is not a goodbye, just a “so long”, we will see you again soon.
We want to thank all our family and friends for making our mothers life a wonderful journey! She was so blessed having you in her life! May God bless you all!
Mary Jo Hendrix is survived by her son, John and Theresa Hendrix of Bartlesville, a daughter Barbara Thornburg of Cleveland, grandkids MacKenzie Hendrix and Easton Hendrix of Bartlesville, and Shawna Kennedy of Cleveland. Five great-grand kids, Dalton Hall of Ponca City, Ben Kennedy of Tulsa, Michelle Kennedy of Oklahoma City, Jonathan Kennedy and Scott Kennedy of Cleveland. She is proceeded in death by her parents Lonas and Maude Jump, husband Cleo (Runt) Hendrix, brother Sonny Jump and grandson Michael Hall.
Funeral Service will be 10a.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021 at the Fairfax Assembly of God Church with Pastor David Reddick presiding and Jay Clapp assisting. Burial will follow in the City Cemetery. Pallbearers are Jim Hadlock, Bill Rice, Gordon Renfro, Joshua Randolph, Colin Berg and Coley Streater, Honorary bearers are her 1958 Classmates. Arrangements are under the care of Hunsaker Wooten Funeral Home. Mary Jo’s online guestbook may be signed at www.hunsakerwootenfuneralhome.com
Mary Jo, Mom and Grandma - We Love You - John, Barbara and family