Richard E. Hinkle, who managed Kmart stores in Niagara Falls and Buffalo and who with his wife, Mary, led a popular round dance club, died Monday, Feb 21, 2011, in his Grand Island home. He was 79.
Born March 13, 1931, and raised in Hazleton, Pa., Hinkle began working as a teenager in his hometown at S.S. Kresge Co., parent company of Kmart. A series of promotions took him to Troy; Paterson, N.J.; White Plains; Hartford, Conn.; Scarsdale; and Syracuse, before he moved to Niagara Falls to open the Kmart store at Military and Packard roads in Niagara Falls in 1967. He managed that store until 1978, then opened and managed the Kmart store on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, where he won the company's Retailer Round Table award in 1981, He retired from the Hertel Avenue store in 1988.
He and his wife became active in the local round dancing community and in 1995 established the Hinkle Round Dance Club, whose dances attracted as many as 75 couples from as far away as Toronto. Their love of dancing took them around the world and they danced on six continents, including in the Great Pyramid in Egypt and atop the Great Wall of China.
Hinkle was a member of the Town of Niagara Lions Club, the Town of Niagara Businessmen's Organization and the Niagara Falls and Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the board of directors of the Society for the Promotion, Unification & Redevelopment of Niagara. He served in the Navy Reserves for eight years in his 20s.
In addition to his wife, the former Mary DeMarco, Richard is survived by two sons, Richard E. Hinkle Jr. and Mark J. Hinkle, both of Grand Island; a stepson, Robert M. Bennett of Wheatfield; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Visitation was held Wednesday at Kaiser Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held Friday, Feb 25, at 11 a.m., at Amherst Community Church, 77 Washington Highway, Snyder.