Kenneth S. Hiniker, age 97, of rural Mankato, died Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Mankato. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 17, 2012, at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato with
Rev. Robert Schneider officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery in Mankato. Visitation will be held from 4 - 7 p.m., Friday at NORTHVIEW - North Mankato Mortuary in North Mankato and continues one hour before the service at the church on Saturday. In lieu of flowers the family prefers memorials to School Sisters of Notre Dame, VINE, or Andreas Cancer Center of Mayo Clinic Health Systems.
Ken, the youngest of nine children, was born to George and Frances (Wagner) Hiniker on a Blue Earth county farm on January 8th, 1915. In 1925, he and his two older brothers Henry and Robert, took over the family farming operation when their father died. As a consequence, Ken was unable to attend school beyond the 10th grade.
In 1942, Ken was drafted into the U.S. Army, and served over three years in the Chemical Corp in the European theater during World War II. After the war he resumed farming, and on May 8th 1947, he married his sweetheart Florence Guentzel, who had faithfully awaited his return.
In the 1950s, Ken and his brothers owned Tri-County Farm Supply and Suburban Skelgas, all while farming full-time. Ken's tinkering in the farm shop eventually led him to start the Hiniker Company in 1967. His creative mind, attention to detail and practical approach to problem solving, enabled the company to successfully design and manufacture agricultural attachment products, tractor cabs and tillage tools that sold throughout the world. Ken's contribution to the community resulted in him being inducted into the Mankato Business Hall of Fame in 1990.
On a personal side, Ken's down-to-earth attitude and interest in his employees earned him the "Boss of the Year" award in 1977 from the Mankato Jaycees.
Ken retired in 1983 after selling Hiniker Company. But his passion for new challenges led him to purchase the Superior Block company in 1990, which he managed until its sale in 1998.
Ken enjoyed family time, playing cards, golfing, traveling, and flying his personal plane.
Kenneth is survived by his wife, Florence of Mankato; eight children, Thomas (Julie) Hiniker of Mankato, Gloria McVay of Winona, MN, Gary (Kim) Hiniker of Mankato, Ronald (Sherl) Hiniker of Mankato, Duane (Michelle) Hiniker of Mankato, Fredric Hiniker of Mankato, Dale (Joan) Hiniker of North Mankato, Sandra (Matt) Ammentorp of Faribault, MN; 20 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Marilyn Decker of Mankato; many nieces and nephews.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and six sisters.