Norbert ‘Nibs’ O. Hinzpeter
Formerly of La Grande
Norbert “Nibs” Otto Hinzpeter, 89, of Baker City and formerly of La Grande, died of a heart attack Oct. 22 at St. Elizabeth Health Services in Baker City. A celebration of his life will begin at 2 p.m. Friday at Community Connection/Baker Senior Center, 2810 Cedar St. in Baker City. Pastor Sally Wiens of the Haines United Methodist Church will officiate. Friends and family are invited to have a light meal at Community Connection following the service.
Nibs was born Dec. 7, 1919, to William and Ida (Harris) Hinzpeter in St. Louis. He lived in St. Louis until he was 15 and enjoyed visiting his relatives on their farms in Illinois; going to the family clubhouse on the Merrimac River to fish and barbecue; and going hunting and fishing with family.
He moved to Southern California with his family during the Depression where he attended Compton Union High School. He left school for a while during the Depression and after serving four years in the U.S. Air Force, from 1942 to 1946, he returned to school and graduated in 1947.
During his term in the military, he earned an airplane mechanic’s diploma before being honorably discharged with the rank of Private First Class. He then went to Riverside City College in California.
On Feb. 14, 1940, Nibs married Ruth H. Carlson in Brea, Calif. Those who knew the couple say they were faithful companions and worked side by side in everything that they did. They say the couple was happily married for 59 years.
He lived in Southern California until he was 62, where he worked at U.S. Porcelain and as an air conditioning technician for Southern California Gas Co., from which he retired in 1978 after 35 years of service.
From age 62 to age 89 Norbert lived in Eastern Oregon. He retired to La Grande in 1978. He lived on Igo Lane on acreage with his wife and daughter for 10 years. He enjoyed learning to farm and raise animals with the help of his neighbors and friends. He said he was always grateful to be welcomed and thought of as a friend by people of Eastern Oregon.
From 1989 to 1997, Norbert and his wife lived in Richland where they spent time fishing and boating on Brownlee and the Snake River. They later moved to Baker City to live near their daughter.
His daughter, Susan, said he always encouraged her to get a good education and enabled her to graduate from college and become a teacher. She says he was a devoted father.
He enjoyed fishing and camping with his family in Yellowstone and fishing in Brownlee Reservoir in the Snake River. He also liked vegetable gardening and watching birds and other wild animals and being with his “granddogs,” Tootsie and Taffy, and his niece’s dog, Tucker.
Norbert enjoyed spending time with his family and friends at holiday dinners, barbecues, picnics, duck hunting trips with his brother and brother-in-laws, vacationing in Yellowstone Park and boating and water skiing at Lake Havasu.
Nibs attended the Baker City First Presbyterian Church, volunteered serving food at Baker City Senior Center with the Trail Tenders and the Presbyterian Church and was a Trail Tender volunteer at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.
He also volunteered as a SMART reader in Baker City schools. He earned many awards for his volunteer services.
He was also a member of the Lions Club of Richland and the Rod and Gun Club in Southern California.
He is survived by his daughter, Susan C. Hinzpeter of Baker City; two sisters-in-law, Velma Carlson of Cortez, Colo., and Mildred Russell and her husband Jack of Brea, Calif.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Ida; his wife, Ruth, in 2000; sisters, Dorothy Dorcheus and Virginia Anners; and a brother, Lester Hinzpeter.
Memorial contributions may be made to any charity in care of Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City 97814.
La Grande Observer – October 27, 2009