Robert “Bob” Hinricher, 95, of Dell Rapids, passed away on Monday, October 3, 2016 at the Dells Nursing and Rehab Center. His Mass of Christian Burial will begin 10:30 a.m. on Monday, October 17, 2016 in St. Mary Catholic Church. Visitation on Sunday, October 16, 2016 will be from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Christian Wake Service will begin at 4:00 p.m. with a rosary to follow in Kahler Funeral Home. On-line condolences may be left at the Kahler Funeral Home website.
On November 11, 1920 Robert (Bob) was born into the family of Frank and Helen (Reistoffer) Hinricher near Granville, Iowa. He was the oldest of 6 children. The family moved to the Colman area in South Dakota where he finished 8th grade at the Colman Country School. At age twelve, his mother passed away. For a short time, he lived with his grandma Mary Reistoffer. His help was needed on the farm and the neighbor’s farm which kept him from going to high school. He worked for many businesses and farmers in the area. As a teenager, Bob traveled from South Dakota to Texas, through Colorado by boxcar with other hobos, while trying to reach his Uncle Joe in California. But he ended up in Wyoming where he picked corn by hand, broke horses, branded cattle, sheared sheep, cut timber and built log cabins. He changed teams of 16 horses for the Wyoming Mail Express.
He served in the 10th Army Air Force in the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1946 attached to the 1st Combat Cargo Squadron and the 326th Troop Carrier Squadron. His Squadron received “Presidential Unit Citation” distinguished service on January 29, 1944 as part of the India-China Wing.
Robert’s 21st birthday was one month before Pearl Harbor was bombed and United States entered World War II. Robert immediately enlisted in the Army and was assigned first as an observer/radio operator on the West Coast where they were guarding against an invasion by Japan, and then to Karachi, India, as a C-47 cargo plane navigator/radio operator. He flew 30 missions over the Himalayas, delivering gasoline and other materials to resupply the Chinese war effort against Japan and for the U.S. Army Air Corps based in India. Flying over “The Hump,” as airmen called the Eastern Himalayas, was extremely dangerous and was made more difficult by the lack of reliable charts, an absence of radio navigation aids and a dearth of information about the weather. More than 1,000 men and 600 planes were lost by the end of the airlift. Bob told his family about the many near-misses he experienced and the friends he lost in the campaign.
After the war, Robert returned to Dell Rapids. He met Charlotte Nemmers at a wedding dance and married her one year later on September 5, 1949. They rented the first of three farms and started a family. The family moved to Dell Rapids in 1960 where Robert worked as a carpenter, feed salesman and mechanic. At one time, he operated gas stations in Sioux Falls. He loved to read books, playing cards and going fishing. He is a long time member of Dell Rapids American Legion and St Mary Catholic Church of Dell Rapids. He was honored by St Mary School by giving him an honorary diploma. In his retirement, Bob loved to work on his sons’ farms and his daughters’ melon and pumpkin patch and enjoyed selling the produce to ladies who were amazed at his mental calculations at the age of 80. He provided daycare with his wife Charlotte for his two grandsons. He loved gardening and growing grapes to provide produce for Charlotte to can and freeze.
Robert will be remembered for his life’s values: any work (no matter how hard) is good work, always be honest, keep your word even if it’s to your disadvantage, give to charity, and don’t take advantage of people by charging interest or raising prices.
Robert died on October 3, 2016 at Dell Rapids Rehab and Nursing Center. He died from complications of old age. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte, Dell Rapids, SD; his daughter Kathy (Lon) Tonneson, Glyndon, MN; his sons Terry, Thousand Oaks, CA; Ron, Woonsocket, SD; Earl (Melanie), Forestburg, SD; Joe (Edie), Dell Rapids, SD; Mike, Hendersonville, TN; Tim (Lisa), New Prague, MN; and 18 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren; his sister Evelyn Weinacht, Dell Rapids, SD; his brothers Elmer (Betty), Flandreau, SD; Omer, Aurora, CO. Sister-in-law Eva, Knoxville, IA and his brother-in-law Quintin Nemmers, Dell Rapids, SD.
He was preceded in death by his parents Helen and Frank, brothers Andrew and Norbert, sisters-in-law Bernice Hinricher, Florence Ginsbach, Mary Page, Sr. Gertrude Nemmers, Sr. Helen Nemmers, Fern Nemmers and brothers-in-law Mike Weinacht, Roman Nemmers, Fr. Charles Nemmers, Fr. Leonard Nemmers, John Nemmers, Arnold Nemmers.
He is grateful in spending his life with his wife and his extended family, especially his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The family invites you for coffee-lunch-refreshments following the committal rites at the cemetery.