Rev. Dr. Donald W. Hinze, 85. Passed away July 17, 2015, surrounded by his loved ones at his home in Waupaca after a brief battle of cancer.
Born in Milwaukee, WI on July 13, 1930, to parents Albert F. and Martha Hinze (Schaefer), the younger brother of Doris R. and Vernon A. Hinze. Graduated from Kimberly High School, Kimberly, WI, Lakeland College (Mission House), Sheboygan, WI in 1952. Received his Masters of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago in 1955 and was ordained to Christian ministry at Immanuel UCC in Kaukauna, WI. He attended Garett Evangelical Seminary and received the honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Lakeland College in 1982. From 1985 to 2007 he was a member of the Board of Trustees at Lakeland College after which he became Trustee Emeritus.
He married in 1954 to June D. De Volk who preceded him in death in 1981.
Don held ordained ministry his entire career in the United Church of Christ. He served faithfully as pastor to congregations in Owosso, MI, Des Plains, IL, (where he initiated a new church start), and Longmont, CO. In 1974 he came back to Wisconsin with his family to become minister of the Northeast Association, Wisconsin Conference, United Church of Christ, an elective post he held for 21 years. In 1994 he became interim Conference Minister of the Connecticut Conference, UCC. Shortly after retirement he was named Stated Supply Pastor of the Wild Rose Presbyterian Church (USA) in Wild Rose, WI until 2004. He was also a member of the Committee on Ministry of the Winnebago Presbytery. Over the years. he served on ecumenical boards, boards of community service agencies and the Peace Movement.
In 1985 he married Natalie (Sager), his soul mate and caretaker. They moved to Waupaca in 1988 and lived on the Chain O’ Lakes for the past 27 years. In 2015 he experienced many milestones; celebrating 60 yrs. of ordained ministry, 30 yrs. of marriage to Natalie, and recently celebrated his 85th birthday. He enjoyed all kinds of outdoor recreation on and off the lakes, continuing education, freelance writing, art /music appreciation, history, reading, global travel, and Elderhostels. Being somewhat an inventor, he was proud of his one U.S. patent (floatation device for watercraft). He loved writing and had a book published in 1990 about stewardship, “To Give and Give Again” (Pilgrim Press). And of course Don was a die-hard Badgers, Packers and Chicago Cubs fan.
Preceding him in death are parents, Albert F. and Martha Hinze, a brother, Dr. Vernon A. Hinze, of Long Beach, CA, first wife June D. Hinze (De Volk), sister Doris R. Hinze, and niece Karen Choyke. He leaves behind his wife Natalie, two sons: David A. Hinze (Karry), of Lakeville, MN, Joel (Horb) G. Hinze (Diane) of Appleton, WI, stepchildren : Dina K. Gosse, (Aaron Smith) of North Bend, WA, Emily L. Grimmer (Matthew) of Delafield, WI, and Jeffrey P. Gosse (Cara) of Green Bay , WI. Granddaughters: Allison N.(Dan) Hodgson, Burnsville, MN, Haley A. Hinze (Nick Cummings), Dallas, TX, and Kelsey K(Joe) Simonett, Pryor Lake, MN. Step grandchildren: Regan and Katherine Grimmer, of Delafield WI, Will, Eva, and Emma Gosse of Green Bay, WI. Great Grandsons: Jake Simonett of Prior Lake MN, and Colin Hodgson of Burnsville, MN. Sister-in-law Marion Hinze of Lakewood CA. Nephews: Stephen Hinze (Debbie) of Santa Cruz CA, Jonathon Hinze (Julie) of Encinitas, CA, Richard Choyke of St. Augustine, FL, and two great-nieces and a number of cousins.
Don taught and believed that there is no contradiction of life even in death, always hopeful about human life, human existence, and believing that love alone is capable of uniting us as human beings. He believed to have learned more religion from persons and their response to life than from textbooks. He was inspired by the likes of Albert Schweitzer, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Gandhi, John XXIII, Martin L. King, Mother Theresa and Howard Thurman, whom Don has said are twentieth century saints in whom Christ is seen to live again. Don was an unapologetic “peacenik”, an agent for peace in search of makers. “I believe Love alone is capable of uniting us as human beings. It is God’s greatest gift to us. My faith and hope have sustained me in my pilgrimage, but not as much as love.” Late in life Don said, “After death, if I find myself before the 12 apostles I will say I truly believe … but I have some questions.”
A celebration of Don’s life will be held August 13, at the FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH UCC, 724 E. South River St, Appleton, WI. Visitation will be at 4:00 p.m. until the time of service at 5:30 p.m. A private committal service will be held at a later date.
The family wishes to thank Riverside Medical Center, Crossroads Crystal River Nursing & Rehab Center, and Heartland Hospice for their “wonderful” care and kindness during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Reinhard Ulrich Chair at Lakeland College, PO Box 359, Sheboygan, WI 53082 or The American Cancer Society.