Norman Hendry was born in a small town in Georgia on January 20, 1905. His family lived on a farm and raised livestock, and his father was a medical doctor. He moved to Miami in 1921 where, at age sixteen, he went to work at a downtown cigar store and enrolled at the South Florida College of Law. He worked his way through law school selling wind-up phonographs and earned extra money appearing as a disc jockey playing records at high school dances.
Judge Hendry was in private practice in Miami from 1932 until 1940, handling a variety of office practice matters. In 1940, Governor Fred Cone appointed Judge Hendry to the Civil Court of Record, where he served for twenty-one years.
Judge Hendry was appointed to the Third District in 1961. His law clerks, secretaries and other staff members viewed Judge Hendry and his wife of more than sixty years, Elsie, as a second set of parents. The Hendrys had no children, but, in the words of retired Judge Barkdull, they “practically adopted the entire Court.” The Hendrys hosted many social functions at their home in the Shenandoah section of Miami, where their yard was always adorned with colorful roses.
Judge Hendry was reelected on several occasions during his tenure on the Third District prior to the advent of merit retention elections. He served as chief judge of the Court from 1965 to 1967 and again in 1977. After merit retention elections were inaugurated, he continued to be retained. Judge Hendry died in office at the age of eighty-three in July 1988. He served as a judge in Dade County for forty-eight years.