Gerald “Jerry” Hinks was the third of four boys born to Leslie and Maurine (Hembd) Hinks and had a half-brother and sister from his Dad’s previous marriage. He was born in St. Paul, Minn., in 1941 and moved to Siren when he was in fifth grade when his parents opened Les’s Store, which sold general merchandise to the community. Jerry worked for his parents at the store until he was an adult.
While still in high school himself, he met a Grantsburg HS student Maureen (Mary) Ryan (the love of his life) while on a church youth hayride. They were married in 1960 at St. Mary’s Basilica in Minneapolis and began their journey together. Always adventurous, they made many moves and changes spanning over 35 years and across several states. He and Mary had nine children: Kathy Lexen (Kyle), Leonard Leslie (who died at birth), Mary Penick (Rich), Cheri Moyers, Jerry (Jeanne), Jennifer Bly (Kevin), Shawn, Pat (Tonya), and Lucy. They also had many foster children over the years, including Cleveland Hastings who has been part of the family for over 40 years and who Jerry looked upon as his son.
In 1990, Jerry and his wife Mary moved to Florida with their two youngest children after finishing school at the College of St. Scholastica. Mary passed away in 1995 and he was married to Betty Crowell in 1998. They divorced shortly after, but remained close friends until her death in 2014.
Jerry spent part of his adult life managing his parents’ store as they wintered in FL, and in the early 1980’s he converted the store into an auction house. But over the years, he wore many hats and held several careers, with the longest in law enforcement and Christian ministry. He worked over a decade for the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department and invested a lot of time with the Deaconate and TEC programs in the Catholic Church.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents Leslie and Maurine Hinks; first wife Maureen Ryan; second wife Betty Crowell; son Leonard Leslie; brothers Leslie and John; and other precious family members. He is survived by his half-sister Valerie Burns and his brothers Bill (Carolyn) and Don (Nancy); as well as by his surviving children, 21 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and the rest of a very large and loving family
His faith was his central focus in his retirement, and his favorite times of the day were the times when he could seek the Lord in prayer and through the enjoyment of music. Jerry wrote hundreds of poems and songs, and many were used in his ministry. He loved his family dearly and will be missed immensely.
Service will be private for family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to family and donation will be given to Special Olympics and St. Jude’s.