Ward Wayne Hinckley, who passed away on Jan. 25, was a devoted husband, father and grandfather, widely respected businessman, civic pillar and avid outdoorsman.
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The only child of Wayne C. and Dorothy Ward Hinckley, Ward was born in Reno on Jan. 25, 1929, and grew up in a neighborhood east of downtown and later in Southwest Reno. He attended Orvis Ring and Mount Rose elementary schools, Billinghurst Junior High School and Reno High School, where he graduated in 1946.
He worked part-time, beginning at age 7, at his father's gasoline station. Wayne Hinckley earned a reputation as a vigorous and scrupulously honest businessman, and nurtured his Wayne C. Hinckley, Inc., into a business with service stations and a distributorship delivering products to other stations.
Ward studied business administration at the University of Nevada but did not graduate until 1954, as his studies were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army. After basic training in 1951 at Ford Ord, Calif., he served with the 20th MP Company in the Panama Canal Zone in 1952-53. He was honorably discharged at Camp Carson, Colo., in November 1953.
He'd taken time out during his service to marry Dorothy Nunn on March 22, 1952, in Fullerton, Calif. He had met Dorothy, from Fullerton, at Lake Tahoe one summer. She was a student at the University of California. The couple made their home in Reno, where Ward officially joined Wayne C. Hinckley, Inc., in November 1953. He worked in sales and ran a Flying A service station. Ward's father established a new distributor relationship with Wilshire Oil Co., owned by Gulf Oil Co., in 1962, and the Hinckleys took over leases of stations across northern Nevada. Ward became president of the company, now called WH Oil, in 1968. In 1971, he and business partner Mike Berry bought out Wayne Hinckley and renamed their distributorship Western Mountain Oil.
His father had gotten into business with a college friend by taking over the lease of the Flying A Service Station on Second and West streets in Reno in 1928. Ward carried on his father's stellar business reputation, and his word was his bond. He and partner Mike Berry once sold four service stations at a meeting in a bar in Elko, jotting details on the back of a napkin. The two continually expanded their business. They built a terminal in Sparks in 1977, renaming it Berry-Hinckley Terminal, Inc. They switched to the Exxon brand in 1983 and the same year spun off a separate branch of the corporation: full-size convenience stores they called Winner's Corners. Berry-Hinckley Industries came to include 38 of those stores with Chevron stations and three car washes, plus Western Energetix Corp. with a card-lock business and two terminals in Sparks. At its peak, Berry-Hinckley Industries had 475 employees. Ward retired in 2005, when Berry-Hinckley was sold to an outside investor.
Ward and Dorothy's son, Arthur, got involved in the family business, driving a fuel truck, delivering gas in high school. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno. Ward and Dorothy's daughter, Carol, became a homemaker and lives in Snohomish, Wash.
Ward was heavily involved in his industry. He served as director of the Oil Heat Institute of Northern Nevada, the California Independent Oil Marketers Association, and the Pacific Oil Conference. He chaired the Pacific Oil Conference's Management Institute, at the Sahara Tahoe, in 1972; and chaired the Distributor Management Conference, Western Region, Kendall Refining Co., in Sun River, Ore., in 1976.
Ward was deeply involved in his community. He was president of the Rotary Club of Reno in 1959-60; a director of the Nevada State Fair 1961-63; a director of the Reno Chamber of Commerce 1962-64; a member of the University of Nevada Foundation; a lifelong member of the UNR Alumni Association; a member of the Reno Elks Club; a member of the Prospectors' Club; and a board member of the Reno Family YMCA. He was a local director of Junior Achievement, and of the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra. He served on the board of Security National Bank.
His hobbies were wide-ranging. He golfed and was a member of Hidden Valley Country Club. He earned a pilot's license at 30 and performed aerobatics in an open-cockpit Great Lakes bi-wing. He also owned a Piper Cherokee, a Cessna 182 and a Cessna Centurion. After giving up flying, he took up sailing, owning a 30-foot Ericson, then a 40-foot Valiant, which he cruised from Acapulco, Mexico, up the Pacific coast to northern Vancouver Island, Canada. He bought a Frers 41 offshore cruiser, and raced victoriously out of San Diego on point-and-return runs.
His beloved wife Dorothy passed away in 1994. In 1996, Ward remarried, to Christel Wayson. Together they traveled to Alaska, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Far East. They shared a love of boating and skiing, and of entertaining friends at their home in Lakeridge Shores, in southwest Reno, and at their condominium at Crystal Bay on Lake Tahoe's north shore. Ward remained very involved with his children and grandchildren, frequently attending their sporting events.
He is survived by his wife, Christel; his son, Art, daughter-in-law, Cindy, and their children: Sarah and Brett; his daughter, Carol Smith, son-in-law, Lance, and their children: Matt, Connor and Hannah; and his stepdaughter, Delone Hernandez, and her children: Anthony and Michael.
The family thanks Saint Mary's Hospice, and Right at Home homecare service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to the Center for Spiritual Living, 4685 Lakeside Drive Reno, NV 89509; or the Saint Mary's Foundation, 520 W. Sixth St., Reno, NV 89503.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the Center for Spiritual Living.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal on Jan. 30, 2011