Charles E. Hinkle, 86, of Dakota City passed away on April 12th at University Hospitals in Iowa City from complications suffered after a fall in his home. He was born in Washington State and grew up in Oregon. He joined the navy at seventeen and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II and also during the Korean Conflict as a member of the Seabees.
After the military, he used the G.I. Bill to enroll at the College of the Pacific, now the University of the Pacific, and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Radio and Television. It was at this time that he met the woman who would become his wife and soul mate, Mary Jean Heath. They were married in June of 1952 and were together until her death in February of 2007. They made their home in Stockton, California where Chuck worked for the Swift & Company meat company. After their daughter, Robyn, was born in 1957, the family moved to Santa Rosa, California.
An avid skin diver, Chuck belonged to the Reef Runners dive club. This led Chuck and Jean to become involved in environmental issues and from that, with several other people, they helped found C.O.A.A.S.T. (Californians Organized to Acquire Access to State Tidelands. This organization helped keep public access to the beaches and prevent private takeover of the coastline. This ideal became state law in the California Coastal Act. This environmental awareness led him to run for political office in 1972. He won election to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. During this time he was also appointed to the Golden Gate Bridge District Board of Supervisors.
In 1978, he and Jean moved to Dakota City, Iowa where her family had roots. Not content to sit back, they became involved in the local community. He served as Mayor of Dakota City and was the County Emergency Management Director. He helped start the E911 service in Humboldt County. Chuck was also part of the group that began the Hospice program here and helped with Meals on Wheels. He and Jean worked tirelessly to save the Carnegie Library in Humboldt and tried to protect other historical buildings in town. He also volunteered many hours at the Humboldt County Museum.
In 1991, Chuck and Jean retired to a home just outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico with a beautiful view of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. They loved history and while there became involved with the Santa Fe Trails Association. Jean put together a history of the Santa Fe Trail and has a library named in her honor at Fort Union, the last fort on the Santa Fe Trail.
They loved to travel both in the states and abroad. They took two trips to the South Pacific, back to the islands where Chuck was stationed in WWII, plus Australia and New Zealand. They journeyed to Alaska and made countless trips in their motorhome across the United States.
Chuck moved back to Dakota City in 2010 to be close to his daughter and her family. He always looked forward to getting together with friends and especially enjoyed the Saturday morning breakfasts with Skip, Tom, Bruce, Rex, Dallas, Ray and Terry. No matter how he felt, if he could get dressed he was going to go to breakfast with the guys. He also truly appreciated the visits from the aides and nurses from Iowa Home Care. They were, as much as anything else, what enabled him to continue living independently over the last three and a half years. That meant everything to him and we, his family, thank you very much.
He is survived by his daughter, Robyn Kocher (Terry) of Dakota City, two grandsons Wesley of Portland, OR. and Benjamin of Kansas City, MO. He also has two sisters, Sue Goff (Jean) of Medford, OR. and Sara Dickins (Gene) of Sanford, NC. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean, and brother Thad.
A gathering in his memory will take place in the Clancy Building at the Humboldt County Museum on Wednesday, April 16 from 7:00pm until 9:00pm. The Mason-Lindhart Funeral Home of Humboldt is assisting the family.