Obituary for Thomas Hinman

Thomas R. Hinman, 93, died December 10, 2017, at Stein Hospice Care Center, Sandusky, as a result of kidney failure. He lived in Berlin Heights for 70 years before moving to Norwalk. He is survived by his wife Ruth (Walters), brother Jerry of Collins, sister Nancy Frazier of Flossmoor, IL, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Forrest and Esther (Kelble) Hinman, a sister Florence Seifert, and his daughter, Pamela Hinman. He owned Hinman Funeral Home in Berl ...
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Thomas R. Hinman, 93, died December 10, 2017, at Stein Hospice Care Center, Sandusky, as a result of kidney failure. He lived in Berlin Heights for 70 years before moving to Norwalk. He is survived by his wife Ruth (Walters), brother Jerry of Collins, sister Nancy Frazier of Flossmoor, IL, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Forrest and Esther (Kelble) Hinman, a sister Florence Seifert, and his daughter, Pamela Hinman. He owned Hinman Funeral Home in Berlin Heights for over 50 years (now Morman-Hinman-Tanner) and was a partner in Hinman-Tanner-Walker Funeral Home in Norwalk (now Walker Funeral Home). He was owner and president of Hinman Ambuliners of Berlin Heights. Friends may call from 4 PM to 7 PM on Friday, Dec. 15, at Morman-Hinman­ Tanner Funeral Home, 38 South St. Berlin Heights where services will be conducted on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 11 AM. Memorial contributions may be made to The Thomas R. Hinman Family Charitable Trust, c/o UBS Financial Services, 111 E. Shoreline Dr., Ste 3, Sandusky, OH 44870. The complete obituary may be viewed at I was very lucky when I was born on April 11, 1924 in that I was given good parents. They gave their children a sense of right and wrong, along with a good set of values. In the Hinman family, almost anything could be forgiven. The one exception, was doing anything that would embarrass the family. The only thing that I recall from grade school was that I had a teacher, Elsie Martin who was determined to teach me to spell. Because I lived in the village and walked to school she kept me after school for half an hour every day to drill me in spelling. It was one of the very few things she was unsuccessful doing. In high school, I was again lucky. I had good teachers and some very excellent ones. Classes were small, about 18 students and teachers often took an interest in students. Miss Silverman, the English teacher, read your compositions and found all the mistakes. Then you got called to her desk and she told you how to correct what was wrong. Mr. Able, the Civics teacher, was a man who could make citizenship interesting by challenging the class with extra projects. This was one of my favorite classes and he announced that one had the choice of taking the final test or writing an essay. Most people chose the test which was easy, however, he added to his announcement, "Except you, Tom. You will write an essay.” At first I felt unfairly treated, but later I concluded that the teacher really was interested in what I had to say, which I regarded as a compliment. Mr. Schroeder was the Science teacher and coach. I was only a bit above an average student in his class but he sort of took me under his wing and I learned a lot about sports and life. I was not very fast or very quick and could not jump very high so he made me "student manager." For four years I was a student manager for baseball and basketball, (the only sports a small school had) as well as being the sports writer for the school newspaper. I also remember that he took me to my first hockey game in Cleveland. I was probably the only kid in Berlin Local school that had attended a hockey game. I graduated in 1942 and went at once to a job as a student intern at Foth and Son Funeral home in Toledo. I suspect that my parent s wanted to break up my high school romance between me and the neighbor girl. Here again, I was very lucky. Mr. Foth's son had just been drafted and he looked on me as a sort of replacement. He was a very fine man. He wanted enough help and good help and was willing to pay for it. The starting salary for an intern was $15 a week, your room, and every 3rd night and 3rd weekend off. While I was there, a union tried to organize our help. None of us were interested. We were well paid and well treated. When he came to me, he asked how much I was being paid. I told him $25 a week. He replied “You are the highest paid intern in Toledo.” With that remark, I would have climbed the flag pole with the rope in my teeth if Mr. Foth had asked me. In WWII, I joined the US Maritime service which furnished sailors to the merchant marine. You were supposed to have 13 weeks of training and then be placed on a ship as a wiper (engine room), ordinary seaman (deck department ), or a mess man (steward' s department ). There was a great demand for students and I only got 10 weeks of training. I served for the most part on tank ships. First was the Gulf oil tanker "Gulf of Mexico". A slow 7 maybe 8 knot tanker built in the 1920's. The living was tough on that ship. All the seamen slept in a dormitory type room and things were crowded. At training school, the instructors made one believe that being assigned to a liberty ship was a good berth, so I got a liberty transport. Liberty ships were a poor berth. To begin wit h, they were poor riders in rough seas and there were 500 troops on board, which was far too many people in too small a space. After that, it was all tankers of the T2 type. Mostly we went from New York to Scotland, although I made one trip that took me around the world. I was never on a ship that was torpedoed, nor as far as I know, were l any ships sunk in the convoys that I was in. From time to time we would hear escorts dropping depth charges fighting off submarines. Merchant seamen had the second highest casualty rate, based on numbers in the respective organization. The marines were the first. After hostilities ended, they wrote a discharge program for mariners. The person who wrote it must have been looking at my record ...I had been in just long enough by a month to qualify. I had just enough sea time by about 10 days. I applied at once and it still took a couple of months. After I was discharged, I returned to work with my father in our funeral home in Berlin Heights. At this point, I had both a wife and a daughter. Betty was from New York City and coming to a rural area like Berlin Heights, with 600 people, took a lot of adjusting. Someone asked her if we ever considered a divorce. She replied, "Murder yes. Divorce no." And we made it. At this point in my life money was a problem. When our daughter started school my wife took a job on the society page of the Sandusky Register. I took a job driving a school bus route. We both did additional newspaper work gathering local news writing feature stories for both the Register and the Elyria Chronicle. I did sports and photography for both papers. At one time, I found myself being an embalmer, a funeral director, a school bus driver, a general news reporter, a sports reporter, a dispatcher for the fire department, the operating officer for the ambulance service and was in charge of the bank alarm. It was fun. I couldn't wait to get up in the morning. Hinman Funeral Home was purchased in 1921 from Herman Elliot who had recently purchased it from Ira Judson. At that time, it was a funeral home and furniture store on Main Street across from the bank. It later was located as a funeral home at 13 South Street which also housed the office for my father's insurance agency and our residence. The funeral home, insurance agency, and our residence moved to 38 South Street in about 1938. When I finished my internship, I went to Cleveland College of Mortuary Science and obtained my funeral director's licenses in 1948. When I obtained my licenses my father gave my mother, who was a licensed funeral director and myself each 30 shares of stock and retained 31 shares for himself In 1946, I won a scholarship to the Funeral School of Management course in Evanston, Illinois. This was a one month advanced course taught by college professors to teach advanced skills, including accounting, advertising, personnel training and other management courses. My father disliked ambulance operation. It fell to me to advance that portion of the business, which I was able to do. Later we moved it a step from the funeral business and created Hinman Ambuliners with Hinman Funeral Home owning all the stock. Hinman Ambuliners was doing about 1000 trips a year. Ambuliners was successful because, again, I was lucky. I had a good staff both in the field and in the office. We were operating profitably when I sold the operation to North Central Ambulance which was owned by Fisher Titus Hospital in Norwalk. I sold the funeral home to Daniel Tanner in 1990 and I stayed on as his assistant. Dan and I became and still are very good friend s. In 1994, three of us, Mr. Tanner, Mr.Walker and myself established Hinman, Tanner and Walker Funeral Home in Norwalk. At one point, we were more successful than we thought we would be and needed help in Norwalk. We did not want to hire help, instead we wanted to pay the mortgage. My first wife had died and my second wife, Phyllis Holiday Hinman did not want to live where my former wife and I lived, so I moved to Norwalk. In 1999, Mr. Tanner and I sold our shares to Mr. Walker and I continued to work for him until I retired in 2010. He was a fine person to work for. I continued to assist in Berlin Heights for several more years. In 2009, my second wife having died, I married Ruth Walter of Orville and again went through the process of moving. This time into a condo which Ruth decorated in very good taste. Ruth is by her nature a very caring person and really likes to help. She and my family have been a great help in my sickness. Hobbies...! am a collector. I collected over 1000 pictures of old ambulances and hearses and 254 models of ambulances and hearses. Both collections were given to my niece Karen. I liked woodworking and made framed pictures for both the Berlin Heights Historical Society and the Maritime Industry Museum in New York. The Maritime Museum houses the Thomas and Ruth Hinman Collection of steamship items. This represents the main part of the their "Great Lakes" collection and includes over 50 pictures, reference books and such things as schedules of the old passenger ships that sailed the lakes, posters and advertising matter. I have lived about 20 years in Norwalk but my heart is in Berlin Heights. I would like to leave Berlin Heights a better place than it was. To this end, I have set aside money in my will. I have pledged up to $5,000 in matching funds to restore the monument at the entrance to the park and land­ scape the area. I have also pledged $5000 in matching funds to Berlin Township to improve Riverside Cemetery. I have left a fund to provide a gift to the historical society. There is a fund in my will to provide further funds for the betterment of Berlin Heights and Berlin Township to be supervised by Mrs. Victoria Welch.
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Scheduled Services

There are no services scheduled at this time.

Recent Condolence Notes

Sunday, 2/25/2018
Hal Simon & I (Paul) enjoyed Tom stopping in to Norwalk Glass to get glass & pass on some jokes. I (Paul Phillips) have enjoyed Tom for many years growing up in Berlin Hts. We knew him & his first wife, His Mom & Dad. As I kid growing up in BH, I needed something Noterized(sp), I had to go see Forrester at the Funeral Home to get it. I was a bit nervous. We will miss Tom very much, a great person to know. Paul Phillips
- Paul Phillips

Wednesday, 12/13/2017
I enjoyed it whenever Tom came into the office. He was always pleasant, had a smile on his face, and never failed to have a joke or two. It was a pleasure to know him. Chris Hipp
- Chris Hipp

It was so good to talk with Tom a couple years ago at reunion. When I was in high school Tom let me do some work with him taking sports photos for the paper and showing me how to develop the pics. He was so helpful when my dad passed. RIP Tom.
- Robert Tim Gammie

I will miss your smile, Tom. You were my bus driver in the '60's and always such a nice man.
- Carolyn Ward

I was just thinking of Tom the other day. I will miss you.
- Jon Christman

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