Many thanks to Margie Menzel and Judith Lyons for providing the pictures and quotes for this site...

"I was his friend, and he mine, for 40 years. We had
so many things to bind us together. Beyond the romantic love of our youth,
we were always friends and partners in life. I miss him."

"This man has lit up the whole state"
Hundreds at MLC, "satellite celebrations" mourn environmental champion Hinkley

By Margie Menzel

Members of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Miccosukee Land Co-op celebrated the life of William H. "Bill" Hinkley on Sept. 16 at the MLC Community Center in Tallahassee. It was the main memorial service but by no means the only one, as Florida environmentalists honored Hinkley throughout the state.

“Fireworks over the Miccosukee Land Co-op Community Center.”

"Most people have no idea how much pollution Bill prevented and how critical his role was," said Julie Hauserman, an environmental journalist. "Because of his decisions, thousands of people will be spared illness and death from pollution."

The service reflected in equal parts Hinkley's passion for nature, his humor and irreverence, and his pleasure in music, food, fireworks, the sea, and Guinness beer, all of which figured prominently in the festivities.

"There are satellite celebrations popping up all over the state," DEP's Mary Jean Yon told a crowd of 250, "and well, we're probably a little behind. They're probably hoisting a few in his honor right now."

DEP staffers arrived from work with photos of Hinkley hanging on tags around their necks to find his neighbors tuning up to play his favorite songs. The MLC Community Center and its adjacent field were set with flowers, shells, tiki torches, and shots of Hinkley at work and at play. There was plenty of evidence of both.

“Hundreds watched the early-evening ceremony.”

"He inspired others," said John Schert, director of the Florida Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management. "He pushed the research. He was responsible for funding 120 masters and doctorate degrees…He looked for the win-win. He loved science."

In his 30-year career at DEP and its predecessor agency, the Department of Environmental Regulation, Hinkley designed Florida's recycling and solid waste management plan and drafted the legislation to create the Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, the source of much of the science and many of the scientists he revered.

He also made public the presence of arsenic in pressure-treated wood,
which is now – directly due to his efforts – banned in the United States.

Hinkley was known for listening to both sides of an environmental dispute and crafting a solution acceptable to each.

"Polluters were always a little taken aback by Bill," said Hauserman. "He really tried to listen to them – to get into their heads and find a way they could conduct business without producing so much damaging waste."

"He treated victims of pollution and heads of industry all the same," said Georjean Machulis, the mistress of ceremonies.

Above all, Hinkley was a devoted father, said Machulis.

“Bill was so proud of Asa, Rachael and Georgia and their accomplishments. He loved his children passionately,” she said.

Asa Hinkley has a doctorate in pharmacology, Rachael a master’s in accounting, and Georgia is in her first semester as a pre-med student at Florida’s new Honors College.

“Rachael Hinkley performed with Halle Lyons.”

Neighbors recalled Hinkley fondly as a man who taught their children to ride a bicycle, loved sailing, running and yoga, gardened in only a baseball cap and sneakers, played the guitar, and made them birdhouses, boot-brushes and hurricane tracking kits. He volunteered for every work party, said Machulis.

"He always had a hammer in his hand," said Rob Lombardo.

Lombardo asked everyone present who had worked on Hinkley's final project, "Bill's Cottage," to come forward. As dozens of people arrived at the foot of the stage, he launched the Co-op band Moccasin Gap into "One Nail at a Time."

"His footprints are all over this land," said neighbor Beth Butler. "His presence will reverberate across these hills for decades, maybe centuries…We will carry on, and we will remember."

“Family and friends comfort each other.”

“If any part of us survives, if we take anything with us, surely it can only be the spiritual qualities we have developed…We who are here today – this great outpouring of love and caring – we offer that testimony to Bill’s spiritual qualities and to the characteristics of soul that he carries with him.” – Georjean Machulis

“He left his mark on this earth, a visible record of life in this community.” – Beth Butler

“May you touch the land to which you gave your heart/May you feel the power of the planet that surrounds you/May you know the unified love of those around you/And may the sun warm your face as you begin your journey.” – Dan Lombardo

“One of these folks in the regulative community – and I won’t say her name – but she’s got a way of getting right down to the heart of the matter. [She asked Bill], `What was it that made you feel you had to work in the environmental field?’ And you know Bill, he said, `I’ll tell you exactly when it was. It’s when I read The Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.’ So this person filed that away. I was talking to her the other day on the phone, and you could see the light bulb go on. She’s going out, she’s buying the book, she’s going to read it and write an inscription. Then she’s going to mail it to somebody – probably me. Then you’ve got to read it and sign it. That one copy will travel all over the world, everywhere, and when you get it, you’ll know just what to do with it.” – Mary Jean Yon

“More important is the legacy he leaves, so beautifully expressed, in the brilliance and talents of his children, and his inspiration to the rest of us that one person can make a difference in this world.” – Beth Butler

“Well the sun is surely sinking down/And the moon is surely rising/So this old world must still be spinning round/And I still love you.” – You Can Close Your Eyes by James Taylor, performed by The Infiltration Choir

“His work was done quietly – at offices at the state capitol, at landfills and industrial sites – where most people would rather not go.” – Julie Hauserman

“He was really smart and he could figure things out really quick.’” – John Schert

“And if you lose the part inside/When loves turns round on you/Leaving the past behind/Is knowing you'll do like you always do/Holding you blind, keeping you true.” You’ll Never Be the Sun by Donagh Long, performed by Jim Lyons

“He taught us humor and laughter. We learned it was okay if you laughed out loud – really out loud – at work.” – Mary Jean Yon

“Everything dies, baby that’s a fact/But maybe everything that dies some day comes back/Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty/And meet me tonight in Atlantic City.” Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen, performed by Casey Rychlik

“At the Land Co-op, the word `neighbor’ means a small army of men, women and children can be assembled at a moment’s notice to take on any cause – march on City Hall…build a house or two…raise your kids…feed your family…care for the sick…comfort the dying.” – Beth Butler

“We’re all in this thing together/Holding the line between faith and fear/This life don’t last forever/When you cry, I’ll taste the salt in your tears.” Reggae Tune by Bree Van Oss

“Bill sure did like to play guitar and sing.” – Tom Lyons, flanked by Jim Lyons and Rob Lombardo

“Going to find community with a helping hand/Going to build this home one nail at a time.” One Nail at a Time by Rob Lombardo, performed by Moccasin Gap

“Bill was a builder…If you’ve been out here doing these work parties – this has been an effort of love.” – Rob Lombardo

“I am sure Bill would want us to acknowledge his dear and beloved friend, Carol Ann Bates. She played a big part in his life. She was his confidante and the best caregiver anyone could ever ask for. She was there for him and with him every day of his struggle.” – Georjean Machulis

“He said, `I want people to have fun, and to think of me, and to say that I had a life well-lived.’” – John Schert

“I can die and still be healed.” – Sandra Brown