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Ernest Conrad "Jim" Hinckle

Jan 23, 1923 - Jan 1, 2018
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Ernest Conrad “Jim” Hinckle celebrated New Year’s 2018 by moving on to his next life.  He passed  away at midnight on New Year's Eve with his three children by his side at his Ellensburg  home where he lived since 1963. He stopped kidney dialysis of his own volition and was under hospice care since Thursday evening.  He was able to rally on Saturday for visitors and still joke around with his family and friends.  Jim was comfortable at the end thanks to his caregivers Shannon McDaniels and Yevette Arthur and Kittitas Valley Hospice. 

Jim lived a full 94 years and will forever be in our hearts.  He was the epitome of a hard worker and set an amazing example with that work ethic for the whole family.  He kept his incredible sense of humor and purpose in life until the very end.
Jim was born January 23, 1923 in Portland, Oregon to Conrad and Anna Hinckle.  Jim survived his four siblings Elma, Lillian, John and Doris.  Jim’s family moved to Ridgefield, WA where they survived the Great Depression by growing their own food and raising chickens and cattle while father Conrad worked for the railroad.  Jim moved to Seattle after graduating from Ridgefield High School and worked in the Red Barn for Boeing as a machinist.  During World War II, Jim got his “greetings” and joined the Army Air Force as a mechanic working on P38s in the South Pacific.
After being honorably discharged in 1945, he returned to the farm in Ridgefield and started a small garbage business.  His co-worker asked Jim if he had a girlfriend and Jim jokingly responded he didn't have one because he couldn't afford one. The co-worker still suggested a local girl named Elinor Schlitt.  The co-worker called Elinor and arranged the first date.   Jim picked up Elinor on their first date using his sole source of transportation, his garbage truck.  A very different first impression.  The best part was that he got a second date.  Elinor had an existing boyfriend, but Jim was able to woo her with his charming personality.  They married on April 5, 1947 at the Zion Congregational Church in Portland.  Jim and Elinor were an excellent dancing couple and “Begin the Beguine” was their favorite dancing song.  Jim greatly enjoyed dancing and for a big guy was very light on his feet.    
Jim and Elinor moved to Ellensburg in 1953 to buy the Ellensburg Disposal Company.  Their daughter, Debra, and two younger sons, Jim and Kirk, along with nephew, Gary Groff, helped out with the family business and went to work many early mornings to drive garbage trucks.  The family had a strong work ethic driven by the German-Russian heritage of Jim, which continues to this day.
Jim and Elinor grew the garbage business and sold to Bayside Disposal in 1976 for Jim’s first retirement in his mid-50s.  Thereafter Jim helped start a trucking business, founded a meat hauling business, and then went to work for Central Nursery and worked for owner and friend, Dale DeFoor, into his mid-80s.  After his second retirement, Jim started a lawn mowing business which continued with the assistance of grandson, Kevin.
Jim was not all work.  He was very supportive of his family.  He loved being there for his kids and grandkids at their athletic events.  Memorable family vacations were spent at Birch Bay and Peterson's Waterfront at Lake Chelan.  Jim and Elinor enjoyed trailer travel to the desert Southwest with a large group of friends and family for many winters.  
Jim was an active and enthusiastic member of the Ellensburg Rodeo Posse.  He also delighted in just sitting on his back patio visiting for hours with his friends and family.  Jim was always there to support his friends whether it was driving them to an appointment or plowing their driveway in the winter.  
Jim was able to fly to Washington DC, with son Kirk, as part of the Inland Northwest Honor Flight to recognize WWII veterans.  Jim kept saying this flight and visit was the first thing he got for free!
Jim always had a love of gambling and cards.  He told many stories of card games during his military service and formed a poker group that met monthly in Ellensburg for over 40 years.  
Jim’s grit was demonstrated when he left the Yakima rehabilitation center in September, 2017 after partially recovering from quadriceps surgery.  Two days after his return home, he put on his leg brace and climbed onto the zero-turn diesel lawn mower and mowed the large lawn around his home.  
Jim was preceded in death by his loving wife, Elinor, and his great grandson, Cameron Moser.
Jim is survived by daughter Debra Harrel and husband Arley, son Jim Hinckle and wife Julie, son Kirk Hinckle and wife Wendy.  Jim has six grandchildren:  Courtney Harrel (fiancé Dave), Brett Harrel, and Connor Harrel (wife Corinne), Brook Moser (husband Tim), Kade Hinckle (wife Ashley), and Kevin Hinckle along with great grandchildren Matthew and Evan Hinckle and Hudson Paul Harrel.  
We will miss your stories, fun sense of humor and never ending advice which you started by saying, "I don't want to tell you what to do, but..."  He always said, "Be good and be happy."
We love you and will keep our memories of you close to our hearts.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Ellensburg at Mercer Creek Church (1407 North B Street Ellensburg, WA. 98926) on Saturday, February 3, at 11:00am.  A graveside service was held at High Valley Memorial Cemetery where Jim was laid to rest beside his beloved Elinor. 
For anyone who wishes to donate in Jim’s honor, the family suggests the Inland Northwest Honor Flight (http://www.inwhonorflight.org/) in care of Brookside Funeral Home: 101 E. 2nd Ave. Ellensburg, WA. 98926

Funeral Information

Funeral service

Feb 3, 2018:11:00 am

Mercer Creek Church




High Valley Cemetery