The former president of Hinkle Printing, Inc. in Corbin died unexpectedly Monday at the age of 62, and he’s being remembered by friends and family as a devoted father and strong supporter and patron of Corbin Redhound athletics.
Benny Hinkle passed away at his home Monday evening after a short bout with pneumonia.
Kathy Hinkle, his wife of 41 years, said her husband’s endearing personality and willingness to help people have been reflected in the outpouring of support after news of his tragic death broke on social media.
“He loved people and he loved meeting people. He really enjoyed life and I enjoyed being with him. We did everything together,” Kathy Hinkle said Tuesday.
“His life was his children and his grandchildren and he always wanted what was best for them.”
Hinkle’s parents, Paul and Betty Hinkle, founded Hinkle Printing, a full service commercial printing company, in 1966. It is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. He started working for the family business when he was 19 shortly after graduating from Corbin High School in 1973.
Hinkle became president of the company in 1983 and served in that position until about a decade ago when on-again, off-again issues with his health necessitated his retirement.
Kathy Hinkle said her husband always had a love for sports, basketball in particular. He coached youth league basketball as a teen and also was a sixth grade basketball coach and Little League baseball coach.
His most enduring legacy, however, is the co-founding of the Cumberland Falls Invitational Basketball Tournament with former Corbin High School boys varsity basketball coach Bill Hicks. The tournament celebrated its 25th year in 2015. Hinkle was the tournament’s first director and served in the role numerous times over the years.
The CFIT has become one of the most respected boys basketball tournaments in Kentucky. Hinkle always ensured it was highly competitive and offered variety by inviting teams to play from many different states — South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Washington, D.C., Alabama, Tennessee and even California.
“Without a doubt it’s one of the better tournaments, year in and year out,” said Terry Joe Martin, a former Redhound Varsity Club President who has served as director of the CFIT for 17 years. “Benny always searched and tried to bring in the best teams he could and the best players. I remember when he got that team from San Diego. He was just ecstatic that he got a team from San Diego, California to play in a tournament in Corbin, Kentucky.”
Martin said Hinkle was driven to make the tournament a success and always wanted to do the best he could for the Redhound Varsity Club and student athletes at Corbin High School.
The relationships he built with some out of state coaches whose teams played in the CFIT were lasting. Several posted condolences on social media at his passing.
“I think it’s a testament to him and the relationships he built with those people and the comfort they had in talking with him and dealing with him,” Martin said.
Corbin City Manager Marlon Sams, also a past president of the Redhound Varsity Club, echoed sentiments about Hinkle’s dedication to the group.
“Benny was willing to work with anybody. He always gave his time and was dedicated to the Redhound program,” Sams said.
Bob Terrell, another past president of the Redhound Varsity Club and a star athlete at Corbin High School during his years there, said Hinkle was instrumental in helping with fundraising and organizing necessary for construction of the Ossie Burch Fieldhouse on the CHS campus. He also served as a statistician for the boys’ varsity basketball team at the school before illness forced him to quit.
“He was a real generous and supportive person. He did a lot of good things for the varsity club,” Terrell said. “He’s from a really great family. Losing someone like Benny is a real bad loss for the town.”
Hinkle Printing was closed Tuesday to mourn Benny Hinkle’s passing. Most of the family works at the business, so it is a close-knit work environment. It will reopen for business today.
“Benny loved his customers and loved the community,” Kathy Hinkle said. “He was very proud of Corbin, KY. He was proud to say he was from here.”
Hart Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements for Hinkle. He will be laid to rest in Petrey Cemetery.