Harry Houston Hinkle, Jr.

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Harry Houston
Hinkle, Jr.

Harry Houston Hinkle, Jr., of Plandome, passed away on Jan. 10, 2018, at the age of 91. His family will miss him greatly.

He is survived by his three children, Paul Hinkle of Baltimore, MD, Karen Brooks of Albertson, NY, and David Hinkle of Sinking Spring, PA, and his seven grandchildren: Travis Hinkle, Jennifer Hinkle, Valerie Hinkle, Harry R. Hinkle; Rachel Brooks; Claire Hinkle, and Paige Hinkle. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy Mae Hinkle, his mother, Rose Ursula Hinkle, nee O’Connell, his father, Harry Houston Hinkle, Sr., both of Hugo, Oklahoma, and his sister, Rosemary Ursula Barton of San Jose, California.

A service will be held at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, in Manhasset, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mary’s Church, 1300 Northern Blvd, Manhasset, NY 11030; 516-627-0385, www.stmary.ws.

Harry was born on June 10, 1926, in Hugo, Oklahoma. The Great Depression had an indelible effect on the quiet and shy young Harry. The challenging times gave him an incredible work ethic. He was an excellent student and, in 1944, he graduated as valedictorian of his class. He would say the world’s two greatest inventions were books, for knowledge and pleasure, and air-conditioning to be comfortable reading them. Many nearby relatives gave him the friendship and support of an extended family that he remained close with.

In mid-1945 he joined the army (over the navy). He decided he would rather be shot than drown. However, by the time he was inducted, the war was winding down. His excellent (self-taught) typing skills were put to immediate use by the army typing the separation papers for all the soldiers leaving the army. Being in the army offered him the opportunity to travel. He developed a fast moving tourist style visiting many cities in the northeast and Canada, including his new favorite, New York City. After 14 months, Private First Class Harry Hinkle was honorably discharged from the army and returned to Oklahoma.

He was forever grateful to the GI Bill for helping to fund his studies at the University of Oklahoma. In his freshman year he was elected to Phi Eta Sigma, and in his junior year he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, both national honorary scholastic fraternities. He majored in economics, minored in history, and had a concentration in accounting.

After graduating in 1949, Harry began his professional career when he went to work for Mobil Oil Company. In 1953 he earned his CPA certification, and in 1959 he transferred to Mobil headquarters in New York City. In 1961, in keeping with his personal aversion to the discrimination he had seen growing up in the south, and over some objections, he hired Dorothy Vaughn as his secretary, one of Mobil’s first African-American secretaries. He worked as the Comptroller for Mobil, a position that included many trips overseas. He greatly enjoyed the opportunity to visit many places around the world. At work he was well known for several outstanding personality traits: he was always kind, soft-spoken, and with a very dry sense of humor. He called you by your full given name, he remembered your birthday, your anniversary, and he knew all of your children by name. At his retirement party, after 41 years of service, he was called upon to use his prodigious memory to seat the many guests by their birthdays.

After his retirement, he continued his disciplined reading program, reading several hundred books per year as he worked his way chronologically through western literature. In addition, he began studying French so he could read French poetry in the original language. He continued to be an avid opera goer, museum visitor, and lover of classical music and Broadway shows.

In his personal life, Harry met his future bride, Dorothy Mae Hearon, in 1953 when both worked at Mobil Oil in Dallas. On Nov. 18, 1955, they were married in Holy Trinity Church, in Dallas, Texas. In 1959 the family relocated from Dallas to Port Washington, NY, and then, in 1980, to Plandome, NY. Harry spent his final years at The Amsterdam in Port Washington, NY. He was a lifelong devout church-goer and a long-time member of St. Mary’s parish in Manhasset.

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