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Ann Hinckley

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Ann Schmehl Hinckley, age 97, was welcomed into the world at Wind River, Wyoming on July 8, 1926, lived most of her life in Powell, and died peacefully in the embrace of her family in Sheridan on March 22, 2024.

Ann grew up in a small Bureau of Indian Affairs compound outside of Fort Washakie.  Her mother taught at the Episcopal boarding school in Ethete.  Her dad was an accountant for the Irrigation Service.

Ann’s boundless energy and curiosity carried her ahead of the crowd from the get-go.  She was an avid reader before starting school.  Tagging along to their one-room schoolhouse with her big brother, the teacher soon offered her a desk of her own and she ended up skipping two grades.  Ann graduated from Fremont County Vocational High School at age 15.

At the University of Wyoming, she received BA and MA Degrees in Social Work and obtained a pilot’s license.  Through her best friend Becky, one of the eight Taggart kids from Cody, Ann fell in love with the idea of a passel of kids and met her future husband, John T. Hinckley.

 As John worked to get the fledgling Northwest Community College off the ground, Ann embarked on a tireless journey of service to her family and her community. When she was in the hospital having kid #6, the long-time family doctor said, “the next one’s on the house”.

Ann’s kids often heard her quoting her mother: “make yourself useful as well as ornamental” and useful she was!  Over her 50 years as a 4-H leader in Park County, she taught generations of young women how to sew, and was a fixture at the Park County Fair.  She trained as a Master Gardener, promoting composting and worm farming. She was a stalwart in the Park County Democratic Party and worked on innumerable campaigns.

Ann’s youngest daughter was once asked what she and her little friend were doing with their clipboards and file cards, and she answered, “playing League of Women Voters”.  Although sticking with the Episcopal faith of her parents, Ann admired the LDS church’s emphasis on family and served as their Ward Librarian for 30 years.

As Ann worked to provide a healthy environment for her family, she was ahead of her time in protecting the environment for her community.  Recycling in Powell started with Ann Hinckley’s indefatigable promotion.  Her kids spent many hours stringing up praying mantis egg cases and distributing ladybugs for the years Ann was able to convince the City of Powell to use biological controls for mosquitoes.  

 Seeing the kids through to adulthood, Ann didn’t slow down a bit.  She taught Children’s Literature at Northwest College, chaired the Wyoming Community College Commission, served on the State Library Council, and traveled to China, Italy, Iceland, England, and Spain.

The local paper in Ponca, Nebraska ran an article about Ann and her family kayaking on the Missouri River at age 79.  She was  80 when challenged as not meeting the qualification for a senior discount at a museum in Italy.  At 84, visiting the Grand Canyon, she figured since she’d come all that way, she might as well take the burro ride to the bottom.

Only in her 90s did Ann slow down to spend more time in her favorite activity since childhood – curled in a comfy chair in a sunbeam with a cup of tea, reading, reading, reading.

Most remarkable about Ann through her long and productive life was her transcendent good cheer.  She brought optimism and energy to every project.  A bright ray of sunshine disappeared with her passing.

Ann is survived by children Jack Hinckley (Kennewick, WA), Morgan Cromer (Sheridan), Bern Hinckley (Laramie), Martha Moewes (Powell), Danny Hinckley (San Leandro, CA), Molly Kinsey (Sheridan), and Katy Johnson (deceased), 13 grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. Services are pending at this time.  The family welcomes memorial contributions to the charity of your choice.

Services are pending at this time.

Online condolences may be written at Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.

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