King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has named Ronald A. Hendrickson, Esq., former Governor of the Swedish Colonial Society, a Knight of the Royal Order of the Polar Star for his leadership in the Swedish- American community. Ambassador of Sweden Gunnar Lund presented the decoration to Hendrickson at the Embassy of Sweden residence in Washington, D.C., on May 19 at a reception for family, friends and the leaders of Swedish- American organizations. “I am grateful to His Majesty for the personal honor and thankful to the many friends and colleagues who support the cause of friendship and understanding between these two great nations,” noted Hendrickson.
The Royal Order of the Polar Star (in Swedish Kunglia Nordstjärneorden) was founded in 1748 by King Frederick and is nowadays conferred only on foreign citizens for personal services to Sweden. King Carl XVI Gustaf is the Grand Master.
The Swedish Colonial Society is a national organization devoted to preserving the history of the New Sweden Colony in America, the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware Valley (1638-1654). That legacy exists today in 24 historic sites in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, including 11 colonial-era structures, eight “Old Swedes” churches still with active congregations, three state parks, the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia (the oldest Swedish museum in America), and the fully-functional, full-size tall ship Kalmar Nyckel, New Sweden’s very own sailing ambassador.
During Hendrickson’s tenure as Governor, the Society welcomed Crown Princess Victoria to celebrate the 365th Jubilee of the first voyage, hosted the officers and crew of HMS Karlscrona, Sweden’s largest naval vessel, and published several volumes of history and genealogy of the first Swedes and Finns in America.
Hendrickson is a 10th generation descendant of eight New Sweden colonists, including Johan Hendricksson who arrived on the vessel Örn (Eagle) in May 1654. In 1699, Ron’s eighth great-grandfather, Andrew Hendricksson, built the stone house on Crum Creek, which was moved in 1959 to the grounds of Holy Trinity (Old Swedes’) Church, Wilmington. Now known as the “Hendrickson House,” this ancient structure serves as a museum, gift shop and the headquarters of the Holy Trinity (Old Swedes’) Church Foundation, Inc.
Hendrickson, 52, who resides in Moorestown, NJ, with his wife, Nancy and children Katherine, Rachel and Andrew, earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1976 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a Juris Doctor in 1979 from Rutgers University School of Law. Ron was a government prosecutor and later defense counsel in private practice. In 1986, he became a partner in the advertising design firm of Cataleno & Company, which specializes in corporate communications for print and electronic media.