Thomas Clifford Hinkson


(July 8, 1939 – June 9, 2024)

Dr. Thomas Clifford Hinkson, 84, passed away peacefully on June 9, 2024, in Fort Worth, TX, surrounded by his wife and children.

Services will be held at Shady Oaks Baptist Church, Hurst, TX, on Friday, June 14th at 11AM. ( Viewing at 10AM).

Tom was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on July 8, 1939, to parents Ernest and Faye Hinkson. Known as a “go-getter,” at the age of 8, Tom started working a newspaper route in the early mornings and was able to earn enough money to buy his family’s first TV.

During his childhood, Tom’s father worked for Rock Island Lines Railroad in San Antonio, TX, and then in Wichita Falls, TX, where Tom graduated from high school a year early. Four years later Tom graduated with a B.S. degree in Mathematics from Midwestern State University, served as Baptist Student Union President and was selected as “Mr. Midwestern.” He married the love of his life, Patricia Ruth McCracken, on July 22, 1960. They moved to Gainesville, FL, where Tom received his masters degree from the University of Florida in Nuclear Chemistry. In 1962, he began a lucrative nuclear engineering job at LTV in Arlington, Texas. Through a set of unusual circumstances (stint at Texas A&I) and what he described as “God led,” Tom discovered his love of teaching, therefore moved his family to University of Arkansas to complete his PhD in Physical Chemistry in 1968. He and Patsy raised their family while he was a professor at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX, from 1968 until 1987. As a university professor, Tom was known for whistling down the science department halls and was eventually promoted to head of the physical science department and finished with the title of Assistant Vice-President of Academic Affairs. Additionally, Tom was instrumental in starting a Hydrology program. On a sabbatical from Tarleton, he worked on a secret project at Los Alamos National Laboratory, we now know as the “Iron Dome.” Tom began his last career as an educational tech consultant for IBM in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and then in Dallas where he retired in 2001. He and Patsy lived in and around Hurst, Texas, over the last 25 years. Even though Tom suffered through dementia the last two years, he was known by caregivers, friends, and family by his smile, witty comebacks, and sweet spirit.

Throughout his life, Tom was an active member of many churches including Shady Oaks Baptist Church in Hurst. His faith in Christ was very important to him and he lived this out daily by showing his appreciation of God’s blessings and pointing out even the smallest of joys. He taught principles of hard work, patience, doing one’s best, integrity, honesty, and making Godly choices. He was a very devoted husband. Tom was a “hands-on” daddy and granddaddy; very complementary and encouraging. Tom made it a top priority to attend as many of his grandchildren’s games and performances, even elections, always loudly cheering. He was an amateur carpenter and loved to fix or build anything for anyone therefore, he spent a lot of time in his cherished workshop. Tom was very outgoing, cheerful, optimistic, energetic, “never met a stranger,” and a great friend. He was a life learner, intelligent, loved asking questions; and an avid reader of science, how to, and travel books. He loved eating, especially sweets, and every meal was “the best he had ever eaten,” hence, he was on a diet most of his life. His creative side was shown through his beautiful woodworking projects, hand-decorated event-themed birthday cakes, guitar music, films of the family, magic chemistry shows to elementary kids, and glass blowing. He loved to dress in his Arkansas Razorback gear, collect pigs and yell “Woo Pig Sooie.” Tom & Patsy loved to travel the U.S. National parks and the world with family and friends and drive his Honda, hike, and camp in many different places. Every day, to Tom, was a new adventure to explore what God had given him and he was always so thankful and eager to experience whatever came his way. He was quoted as saying “God blessed us in ways that nobody can comprehend.”

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Patricia Ruth Hinkson, one brother Robert Hinkson and one sister, Jeanie (George) Sparkman, three daughters Leanna (Luke) McCollum, Amy (Mark) Fisher, and Laura (Shane) Lunceford, ten grandchildren, Blake (Kristen) McCollum, Austin (Ragen) McCollum, Michelle (Townshend) Hirst, Jenna (Bryce) McClelland, Alyssa (Sergio) Chacon, Will (Jacey) Fisher, Jake Fisher, Cliff (Tori) Lunceford, Reece (Jessica) Lunceford, and Lexi Lunceford, and fourteen great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers/plants donations can be made to the IB Thomas Scholarship Fund for Hydrology students at Tarleton State University at

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