BOB HINDS (97) passes away. January 7, 2018 11:59
While we’ve been focused on “Rosie” Priscilla and her failing health, heartbreak blindsided us from another.
I got word late last night that “Roger”/“Homefront Worker” Bob Hinds passed away unexpectedly a few days ago at the age of 97.
I am devastated to say the least.
Bob was a great representation of the Home Front Workers who not only worked for the War Effort during WW2 but was also a WW2 Veteran. He is part of the Greatest Generation.
Although a healthy young man at that time, he proved to be more useful on the Home Front by providing an occupation-based skill essential to production for the War Effort where his shipbuilding expertise was put to great use here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bob was born & raised in Berkeley in 1920 and he regaled us with stories of the Bay Area throughout his years, from before the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges were built to the time he witnessed a Russian ship anchoring in Richmond during WW2 solely manned by females. He always said he had a charmed life, starting with parents that helped him with his passion.
His first love was building boats and he built his first one at the age of 15. He built a cabin cruiser at the age of 19 and would sail it over from Berkeley to Treasure Island for the 1939 World’s Fair, tying it up during the day while enjoying the Fair and sleeping on it overnight.
From 1941-42 Bob helped build the launching ways at Moore’s Shipyards in Oakland before being hired on at Hunt’s Marine Service in Richmond right across from Kaiser Shipyard #1, working his way up from a boat builder to a supervisor at the ripe old age of 21.
Here, he oversaw the building and maintenance of 30-50 foot patrol boats, rescue crafts, and command boats, for the Army Transportation Service (ATS). He officially joined the ATS in 1943, first as a Tugboat Captain and then finished off his military service as a Fireboat Captain till the end of the war.
Bob would tell us of the immense activity on the waters of the Bay Area during WW2 but never enough to satisfy our curiosity.
After the war Bob continued his love of woodworking by buying an empty lot and building his own boat shop & store on the corner of 5th & University Ave in Berkeley.
He stayed in the business until fiberglass boats became all the rage which he refused to work with. Wood was his passion! He eventually sold the business and although the business itself is gone the building still stands, with Bob resisting bid after bid on his property saying he would never give up his building for anything.
Bob retired at the young age of 40, turning his attention to restoring old cars with the same meticulous care & attention he gave to everything else he worked on.
He met the love of his life, Helen, during the war and they married in 1946, raising their three children Jan, Gary and Tom, in Orinda in the house he built himself. They were married for 65 1/2 years until Helen’s passing in 2011. And not a day went by that he didn’t miss her, didn’t mention her to us, didn’t grieve for her and our only consolation as Bob has passed onto a new life is that he is now with Helen once again. ❤️
Although he was hard of hearing, his mind was sharp as a tack and he still could tell you the details of what he built, how he built it, what materials were best, etc that he did 70 + years ago during WW2 & throughout his life.
We will miss Bob SO much at the Rosie the Riveter WW2 Home Front NHP’s Visitor Center.
It will be hard to have to remember that he isn’t coming in anymore.
We are grateful to have known him for the short time that we did.
Love to you all 💕