Remembering Rex Hinz
On Monday 10 June, 2019, Rex Hinz died after 95 years of faithfully serving Christ. His funeral took place in Pittsworth on June 20.
Rex was a sincere follower of Jesus as well as a quiet philanthropist as he (together with his late wife Vi) served his Lord in love towards his neighbours, whether near or far. We thank God for Rex and his impact in the wider community, as an example to us all to serve each other unconditionally.
The following was read before Rex Hinz received the Servant of Christ Award in 2011:
‘Hardship softens the heart. God uses adversity and setback to fashion his children in such a way that they develop a remarkable degree of compassion for others. Life has not been easy for Mr Rex Hinz. It began at Clifton in Queensland, eighty-seven years ago. He is reluctant to speak about himself. But when he can be persuaded to do so, he is more likely to focus on his life as a farmer than on the qualities for which he was nominated for the Servant of Christ award. Rex is descended from a family of pioneering farmers from the Darling Downs. He left school at the age of 14 and quickly learnt the ups and downs of farming life, milking cows, working the farm with horse-drawn ploughs, and then graduating to life behind the wheel of a tractor.
In his late thirties Rex and his wife Violet—or Vi to family and friends—moved to the Brookstead area and soon afterwards joined St Paul’s Lutheran church at Yandilla, a congregation of the Pittsworth parish. Rex and Vi raised a family of five boys, four of whom have intellectual disabilities. While the boys were young, Rex and Vi became long-term carers for Rex’s sister Iris, who also experienced intellectual impairment. In more recent years, as Vi became seriously ill and her life started drawing to an end, Rex assumed the role of her full time care-giver up until her death in 2003.
Life experiences such as Rex has encountered can test a person beyond human endurance, or they can forge Christian character that serves as an example to one and all. Above all, Rex has developed a profound interest in the appropriate care of people with disabilities. Regarding them as God’s precious children has led him to treat his own children, and all others, with the utmost respect and dignity. Rex has always ensured that his four oldest boys—Rodney, Peter, Trevor and David—were immaculately groomed, received a good education, attended church and Sunday School regularly, and were thoroughly integrated into the worship life and the congregational activities of St Paul’s. Responding in kind, the men have always been quick to offer their services and carry out their duties in a friendly and courteous manner. Needless to say, the congregation and the parish at large have reciprocated by embracing the family with warmth and affection.
Constant care for his family and running the farm have not prevented Rex from engaging in many leadership roles in the church, including serving as chairman of the congregation and the parish, congregational elder, lay reader and member of numerous committees. Always involved in church property maintenance, Rex has also donated countless items as they were needed—sound systems for two churches, a manse air conditioning system, hymnbooks, linoleum, a vacuum cleaner and gifts in kind for the pastor’s table and vegetable patch. Rex has always done these things quietly, without ever wanting to draw attention to himself.
The wider community has also benefitted greatly from Rex’s generous spirit. Stories could be multiplied of the times that his kindness has extended beyond his family and the church, to his local community and even overseas. Let one example suffice. In 2005 he donated $6000 of his hard-earned savings so that a talented 16-year old blind girl could realise her dream of going to university. The money went a long way towards buying her a Braille note-taker. All Rex asked for in return was the pleasure of hearing her play the piano. As she did so, the tears welled in his eyes, amazed and delighted by the girl’s special talent.
Without complaining about his lot in life, Rex has been patient and persistent in seeing to it that the love of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has been shared far and wide. The Servant of Christ Honours Committee recognises in Rex a man of God whose life and conduct have manifested the compassion of Christ for his fellow human beings, regardless of who they are, but especially for those who are less fortunate than himself. Upon the recommendation of the committee, the Lutheran Church of Australia is pleased to confer on Mr Rex Hinz the Servant of Christ award.
To God alone be the glory.’