R. D. "Don"
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MINDEN, LA - After a long, full life of service and achievement, R.D. "Don" Hinton, an exemplary member of "The Greatest Generation," died on April 14, 2011, at the age of ninety-eight years. A memorial service honoring his life will be held at First United Methodist Church of Minden at 11:00 AM on Monday, April 18, followed by visitation with the family in the Wesley Room of the church. There will be a private burial service for the family at Gardens of Memory in Minden.
Don Hinton was born on August 13, 1912 at Clay, LA, the second surviving child of Frank A. Hinton and Leila Berry Hinton. He graduated from Louisiana Tech in 1934 with a degree in Agronomy, and after a brief period of teaching in public schools, he joined the fledgling Soil Conservation Service in December 1935. He worked for the SCS for thirteen years, serving in Minden, Plain Dealing, and Ringgold. During this period he married Lucy Jeannette Rathbun of Minden on August 30, 1940, and this union endured for fifty-five years until her death in June 1996. In February 1942 he leased Ferndale Farm in Minden from Mr. C. M. Hutton and began pursuing his chosen career as a dairy farmer. After purchasing Ferndale Farm in January 1952, he spent the remainder of his working life operating the farm, first as a dairy farm with registered Jersey cattle until 1986, than as a beef farm with registered Black Angus cattle for another fifteen years. In addition to being a producer of milk, he became a milk processor when he joined with four other men to establish Sanitary Dairy Products in Minden in 1947. He served for many years as President of Sanitary Dairy until it merged with Beatrice Foods in 1979.
While pursing his life's work in the dairy industry, he also served on the Board of Directors of People's Bank & Trust Co. of Minden as well as the Board of Directors of the Federal Land Bank of New Orleans. After leaving the Soil Conservation Service in 1948, he served for more than sixty years as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of the Dorcheat Soil & Water Conservation District. He was a member of the Minden Chamber of Commerce and the Minden Lions Club for more than sixty years. During his long residence in Minden, he served the First United Methodist Church in virtually every possible capacity. And finally, he was a strong supporter of his alma mater, Louisiana Tech, and in 2000 he was honored as Tech's Alumnus of the Year. Over the course of his long life, he received many awards and honors for his achievements and service.
Don Hinton was a man of courage, vision, perseverance, boundless optimism, and strong convictions, which he would defend endlessly. Throughout his life he professed and practiced the highest moral and ethical standards, and he emphasized to his sons that living according to one's principles was much more desirable than wealth, status, or power. As a child of the Depression, he lived a frugal and simple life devoid of all luxury or indulgence. A gregarious and out-going person, he treated all people as equals, and he never met a stranger. He was a fortunate man because in his adult life he was able to pursue his chosen career and to realize his ideal existence.
Don Hinton was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, his younger son David Franklin Hinton, his brothers Harry Hinton, Berry Hinton, Lawrence Hinton and Billy Hinton, and his sister Mattie Hinton LaGrone. He is survived by his elder son Donald R. Hinton and wife Helen of Minden, his grandson Dr. Hugh Hinton and wife Rev. Heather Kinnear Hinton of Medford, MA, his granddaughter Dr. Heather Hinton Fowler and husband Dr. Kurt Fowler of Indianapolis, his great-grandson Isaac Alden Hinton of Medford, MA, his great granddaughter Catherine Elise Fowler of Indianapolis, and a special friend, Mrs. Virginia Fox, as well as several first cousins and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to express their appreciation to Dr. Michael Chanler, Dr. Timothy Talbert, the staff of Minden Medical Center, the staff of Weston Place Rehabilitation Center, and especially to caregivers Barbara Arrington, Shirley Carter, Willis Doyle, Geraldine Garrett, and Stephanie Lewis, for their compassionate, conscientious care of Don Hinton during his last ten weeks of his life.
Memorials may be made to the Bell Fund of First United Methodist Church of Minden, or to Louisiana Tech University.
Published in Shreveport Times on Apr. 17, 2011