Rev. Hinson: IN memoriam

Catherine Onorato '22, Anne Belevetz '23

Reverend Michael Hinson, a beloved Middle School Chaplain and Religion teacher, passed away on November 13, 2021. Rev. Hinson was in his 30th year of teaching at St. Stephens and St. Agnes School. He was a father, husband, colleague, and most importantly, a friend. The impact that Reverend Hinson had on the Saints community was like no other. He had a way of making everyone feel welcomed and accepted. Whether he was a teacher or just a friendly face, he truly made an impact on every person he met. Students and Faculty have submitted their personal stories and memories about Reverend Hinson.

 

“In middle school, I was dealing with insomnia. So I would frequently come to school extremely tired. And I would often fall asleep in my classes. One time I fell asleep in his religion class, and Rev. Hinson pulled me to the side after class and asked what was wrong. I told him what was going on. After we had our talk, he told me that it was okay if I wanted to take a nap in his class, because he could see how tired I was. And that I could come into his classroom during lunch or recess to take a nap. Of course, we agreed I had to make up my work at some other time. But having someone who understood me and showed that type of care towards me, made me feel so loved. And I felt so comfortable coming to him to vent about my issues in my life even outside my school life.” - Anonymous

 

“Rev and I used to always share the same music taste (U2, GooGooDolls, etc.) When I took his class in 8th grade, sometimes he would put on music and we would be the only two people in the class who knew the band. Whenever he would play U2 and I'd start singing along, Rev would point at me and go ‘She gets it!’ His class was always the highlight of my day because I knew he would always play the best music. Whenever I doodled in class, instead of getting annoyed with me, he would ask if he could keep the drawing, and he'd put it on the board behind him. He kept at least 5 of my drawings behind him, and I'm sure they're still there. He used to always say to me, ‘you've got a real talent.’” - Sydney Worsham ‘24

 

“Reverend Hinson and I grew close over my 18 years here at SSSAS mainly through our shared love and care of our children and of the Saints students. We often discussed his love of Sam and Lauren, in the early days since I taught them both. Then as they moved on to college and beyond. I would also discuss my son Dylan and some of the challenges he faced and overcame. He was of enormous comfort over the years, as we also both talked of the commonality between our two faiths - Judaism for me and Christianity for him. We loved discussing what brought us and people together, as opposed to what divided us. Father Hinson was a lovely man of family and faith, and I will miss him dearly.” - Steve Ebner

 

“When I was in 8th grade, I remember going into Rev's room every Thursday during lunch. I would rearrange and reorganize his mugs on the edge of his desk. They were full of pencils, pens, scissors, and other trinkets. He would sit there and watch me every time, smiling as he complimented how well I was organizing his messy desk.” - Zoe Coval ‘23

“In 8th grade, Rev. Hinson would always have every single student in his room during advisory, talking about everyone's problems and lives. He made everyone feel like they were the most special person in the room.” - Devon Fogg ‘23

 

“In class, when Rev needed an example of people doing something wrong or falling short of their expectations for themselves, he would gleefully act out an impression of someone getting in a road rage yelling match. It always included a loud "Your Mama!" in his thick southern accent and a fist shake followed by a quick laugh. He had a way of using real-life examples that were also funny and entertaining to engage the class. RIP Rev, may his memory be a blessing.” 

- Theo Weiman ‘24

 

“When I was in his class last year, he told me I will help people when I'm older. It felt really good to hear someone say that. His class was the one that I looked forward to in the day.”  - Finley Knutson ‘25

 

“When my dad was in the hospital, Rev. Hinson took time out of the school day to go visit my dad and talk to him.” - Anonymous 

 

“When me and a friend were working on our chorus project in 8th grade in his room with him every day for a couple of weeks.” - Abby Musser ‘24

 

“It's not possible to elevate a single memory.  Collectively the memory is all of the private and vulnerable moments and conversations we shared with one another.  Tears, Laughter, Hugs.  Ultimately the memory is the Power of Unconditional Love.  He taught me that each of us has more of ourselves we can give to others in Love.  I love you, Michael.  I miss you dearly.” - Ron Ginyard, Jr.

 

“If I was ever upset with a grade, Rev. would comfort me and make sure that I knew grades were less important than my well-being. He would encourage me to stop studying once in a while and make sure I didn't let grades affect my happiness. He always cared more about how I was doing mentally. “ - Anonymous

 

 ‘I will always remember that whenever Rev. Hinson visited the Upper School campus students would rush to speak with him. The affection directed at Rev. Hinson was palpable. Any teacher would cherish that kind of greeting from former students.  He was a special Saint.” - Bud Garikes

 

“It was a pleasant surprise to see Rev. Hinson at the Upper School for chapel that day. After I gave the chapel talk, he was the first to greet me after the service. He had a way of making me feel so very special with his kind and supportive words anytime I saw him. I will miss him dearly, but I will always remember how much he valued and loved our Saints family. “ - Madame Scott
 

“I remember how a friend and I would come to his classroom to work on our chorus project (we had to create a song), and he was always so excited to hear what we had created so far and would joke with us and he just made the creation of the song for chorus so much fun. He had such a great laugh.” - Anonymous 

“Reverend Hinson would come out to our field hockey practices on the MS field every day and watch for a few minutes and wave to us. I'll always remember the time he spent just to show us that he loved and cared about us.” - Anonymous

 

“Rev Hinson would come to many of the drama productions here at the Upper School. The first thing he would say was how impressed he was with the talents of our students.  He would have a huge smile on his face.  These moments showed me how much he cared for those around him and how valuable he held people in his life. His daughter Lauren was an excellent dancer and she was featured in The Wiz.  I remember her spinning across the stage as she represented the tornado.  Rev Hinson was the first to congratulate her on her performance.  A big smile and a pat on the back was what I will remember about him!” - Jim Marvin

 

“Rev. Hinson was by far the sweetest soul I have ever met. He impacted my life in so many positive ways. When I was struggling I would go to him and talk to him about how I would compare myself to my siblings and how smart they were. He always believed in me and would encourage me to keep pushing and trying. He made sure to always check up on me when he saw me. If it wasn’t for Rev. Hinson I would not be the person I am today. He helped me build my confidence and taught me to keep pushing. I love him so much and will miss him greatly. He was truly an amazing person.” - Anonymous 

 

“My favorite thing Reverend Hinson would say to us at the end of class or in his emails as he was signing off was "peace." I feel like that was his mantra, too. He was peaceful, and not just because he was calm, but no one had disagreements with him ever because you just couldn't argue with him. It's the strangest thing, but no conflicts occured in Rev's presence. He truly was a peaceful man and that is what I will remember the most about him.”- Kalli Dinos ‘24

 

“Before one of my first chapels my freshman year (it may have actually been my first one) Rev was there, standing in the CPAC lobby as we all walked in. Seeing him brought so much comfort. The upper school was scary and unfamiliar at first, but he was a familiar face and I immediately felt calm by seeing him and being in his presence. I quickly said hi to him and he remarked on how much I grew over the summer. I'm having a hard time believing he is gone. So pissed that he was taken from us so soon. One of the best people I have ever met. It's not fair.” - Caroline Ross ‘22

 

“I remember in eighth grade we had a short writing assignment in religion class near the end of the year. When I showed him mine, he wrote on it “ready for high school,” and this meant so much to me. Even now, when my schoolwork seems like too much or I’ve done poorly on a test, I remember those words. I remember that Reverend Hinson always believed in me.” - Jordan Resnick ‘22

 

“Rev. Hinson was the kindest person I know. Seeing his face light up every day in religion class was always the best part of my day. I would also go visit Rev most days so I could hear how his day went, and he asked me how mine went too. Rev could sense if I had a bad day, and he always cheered me up no matter what. He was so understanding and gave the best life advice. I'm going to miss Rev, but I know heaven gained a true angel”. - Anonymous 

 

“I remember the way he would talk in chapel. The way he would pray. "Oh Lord" or "Heavenly Father" or "Almighty God." He would lean against the pew and close his eyes. His prayers were never rushed. It was like the world held still at that moment. He never recited it off the book. It was original, what he was thinking. When he would say a sermon he would often turn, leaning on the pew to one side or another, as if addressing a certain side. Almost like he wanted everyone to know he was talking to them. His southern drawl and kind demeanor drew people in. I always looked forward to when he would speak even if I struggled to focus and didn't look it. We will remember you.” - Anonymous 

 

“Fr. Hinson was a wonderful colleague and a real friend. And he was one of the happiest souls I've ever known. I taught at the MS for 10 weeks when I began here at SSSAS while I was still in graduate school. At the MS, the faculty all share a small room when not teaching, so it was very easy to get to know one another. When I told him I was from Alabama and had changed careers, he shared that he was from Georgia and had worked in sales before becoming a priest. (He laughed and talked about how he'd been a good salesman, so his boss couldn't understand why he wanted to leave the business!) Fr. Hinson also would see me doing my school work (Latin & Greek) in the faculty room and he took such an interest! So much so, that nearly every time I ran into him afterward, he would greet me with "Hey Classics Man!" One year I told him I was going to be teaching the New Testament. Boy was he excited about it! It was such an inspiration the way Fr. Hinson not only shared his characteristic enthusiasm but also was so thoughtful and serious about the challenges of understanding and having faith in the literature of the Bible, and of communicating those things to students. I will miss Fr. Hinson very much. What a ray of light he was, in his joy and in his wisdom.” - Alexander Robinson

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