Pastor Thomas P. Hinz departed this world on Friday, Oct. 6 at the age of 99.
He lived a life based not only on deeply held Christian values — including faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior — but also enormous love for his family, friends, and country.
“Pastor Tom” began training for the Lutheran ministry in 1941 as a high school student at Concordia College, Milwaukee, WI. The onset of World War II, however, soon interrupted his education with Tom morphing from student into soldier, eventually serving a two-and-a-half-year stint as a U.S. Marine in the South Pacific. His signal company was attached to the First Marine Division, which fought in the Battles of Peleliu and Okinawa. After the peace, he spent the last months of his overseas duty in China.
Returning stateside in 1946, just days before his 21st birthday, Tom enrolled in Concordia Seminary, Springfield, IL. After his graduation and ordination several years later, Pastor Tom accepted his first call to a dual parish, Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Standish, MI, and St. John’s Lutheran Church in nearby AuGres, MI.
What followed throughout the next decades were several important moves that would establish and further his devotion, not just to preaching the Word from the pulpit, but also doing it via a radio ministry. Long before churches began live streaming their services, Pastor Tom developed a love of spreading the Gospel via another technology — the AM dial. It was a passion that took root during his tenure as associate pastor at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bay City, MI. It continued when he accepted the call to Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Beloit, WI in 1955. During the next 15 years, Pastor Tom not only guided Trinity’s exponential growth as a congregation, but also established a Sunday morning radio program. When the Holy Spirit led him in 1971 to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, West Allis the worship broadcast became essential to his ministry and one that remains in place today.
After leaving St. Paul’s in 1987, Pastor Tom served as chaplain for The Lutheran Home in Wauwatosa before retiring in 1989. In the period that followed, he was proud to help with other congregations in the Milwaukee area, including as Pastor Emeritus at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa, WI.
Throughout his ministry Pastor Tom served in various ancillary roles within the South Wisconsin District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, his theological home. But his true avocation focused on religious music. His passion for singing began during the years at Trinity when he took his first voice lessons. Throughout his ministry and long after retirement, however, Pastor Tom kept an active singing schedule, soloing regularly for church services and other events. Besides making several records, one of his proudest moments was singing “The National Anthem” at County Stadium.
Pastor Tom lost, Eunice, his beloved wife of nearly 59 years in 2008, joining their daughter, Susan, who died shortly after birth. He leaves three other daughters — Christine, Corinne Steinbrenner (Glenn) and Kathleen Moravec (Alan) — along with seven grandchildren — Amy Thompson (Matthew), Julie Steinbrenner (Greg Rieker), Lisa Steinbrenner, Matthew Steinbrenner, Emily Bender (Matthew), Megan Moravec, and Andrew Moravec. That’s in addition to five great grandchildren — Grace, Isaiah, and Joshua Thompson plus Madeline and Thomas Rieker, his namesake.
Pastor Tom lived in service to God’s kingdom, confident in the Gospel message of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ.
He died blessed by the Lord and loved, leaving those of us who will miss his generous, kind spirit to mourn his passing.
Yet, we celebrate his new life!
Visitation will be on Sunday, October 15, 2023 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 7821 West Lincoln Avenue, West Allis, Wisconsin from 1:00 PM until time of service at 2:30 PM. Interment on Monday, October 16, 2023 at Woodlawn Cemetery, 1520 County Road C, Plymouth, Wisconsin, at 10:00 AM.