Edward Hinrichs, 1922-2012
The grand marshal of Forest Lake’s July 4 parade in 2012 rode into the sunset last week. Ed Hinrichs passed away due to pneumonia on Christmas Day at the VA hospital in Minneapolis. He was 90.
Edward T. Hinrichs was born in St. Paul, May 23, 1922 as the fourth of nine children to Herman and Stella Hinrichs.
He took up woodworking, the occupation of one of his uncles, at a young age and attended St. Paul Vocational School to learn the trade of cabinet making.
Hinrichs joined the Army in 1942. During WWII he was a flight engineer on B-17’s and flew 32 missions from November, 1944 to April, 1945.
Danger was constant for the 452nd Bombardment Group of the Eighth Air Force. The group took part in the invasion of Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation. Hinrichs would later determine that he had less than a 10 percent chance of survival as one who flew in the ‘Mighty’ Eighth.
After the war, Hinrichs married Yvonne “Randy” Ranstedt, who had served as a nurse on the USS Hope. The cabinet-making business took the couple from St. Paul to California, Arizona and back while they started a family.
Upon returning to Minnesota, Hinrichs became a superintendent with McGough Construction and he remained that until he retired in 1980. The Hinrichses bought lakefront property in Forest Lake in 1969.
All the while, Hinrichs’s time in the service was never far from his mind. Yvonne, who had been the bookkeeper during the cabinet-making days, convinced her husband after retirement to take on a project he had long considered: documenting in detail his war experiences.
Years of research and writing resulted in the book “Missing Planes of the 452nd Bomb Group”, which was originally published in 1995 and later updated twice.
Yvonne died in 1997.
In retirement, Hinrichs helped found the Lakes Area Woodcarvers Club. He was a member of both the American Legion Post 225 and VFW Post 4210, leading to his role as grand marshal for the 2012 Fourth of July Parade.
A Man of Talents
Hinrichs was a man of many talents, says his third-cousin once-removed, Dick Doyle of Forest Lake. The two were Legion mates long before Hinrichs discovered they were related while studying genealogy.
“He was a man of many talents,” Doyle says, noting that Hinrichs used computers for business long before they went mainstream. “Not highly educated, but a brilliant brain – he could do nearly anything.”
A ceremony for Hinrichs was held Saturday, Dec. 29 at the American Legion Post 225.
He is survived by his children, Patricia (Greg) St. Onge, son-in-law, Bill Dukowitz, Donna (Ken) Zaglin, Kathy (Dan) Poff; eight grandchildren, DeAnna (Dukowitz) Larrabbe, Nicole (St. Onge) Reising, William Dukowitz, Anthony Poff, Ashley (Poff) Klofstad, Lea, Julia and Benjamin Zaglin; and nine great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Yvonne (“Randy”); daughter, Linda Dukowitz; and granddaughter, Danielle St. Onge.