Dr. Harris Hinckley

SOUTH PORTLAND – Dr. Harris Hinckley was born on June 23, 1923 to George and Florence (Pearson) Hinckley of South Portland. We believe his older sister, Marcia, was delighted. On Jan. 5, 2021 he died peacefully while in hospice care.

Harris was a freshman at Dartmouth College when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He served in the army during the war, first in Europe and then in the occupation forces in Japan. In July 1945, he managed to squeeze in time to marry Allice Mitchell, with whom he later had three daughters.

Harris returned to college after the war, went on to medical school at Boston University, and became a general practice doctor back in South Portland. He was also on the staff at Maine Medical Center and Mercy Hospital. In those days family doctors made house calls and took care of people from birth to death. Harris delivered more than 1,000 babies over the years. One young patient, a little boy, was sure that Dr. Hinckley was really Mr. Rogers. There actually was a bit of a resemblance.

As a boy in the 1920s, Harris was fascinated by Charles Lindbergh and his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. Whenever an airplane was seen overhead, Harris would wave and call out, “Hi, Lindy!” His father, George, often took the family to the airport, to picnic while watching planes take off. It triggered a lifelong interest in flying, and Harris finally got his pilot’s license in 1977. He joined the Civil Air Patrol, becoming a lieutenant colonel and flight surgeon. When Harris retired from his full-time medical practice, he continued doing pilots’ FAA exams for years.

When he wasn’t flying or treating patients, Harris enjoyed some artistic hobbies. For 50 years, he sang in the choir of the First Congregational Church in South Portland, sometimes as a soloist. He once played young Ralph Rackstraw in a local production of HMS Pinafore, which seemed very funny to his oldest daughter. Through his second wife, Sally (Howe), he became a volunteer with Lyric Music Theater, helping build sets and other backstage tasks.

Harris is survived by his wife, Sally, of almost 44 years: daughters Priscilla Hinckley, Lucy Littlejohn. Alex Taylor, and Diana Howe: niece, Karen Hill: and grandchildren Scot Danielson, Daniel Cooper, and Eleanor England. The family would like to thank Beacon Hospice Care for helping Harris through this transition.

A memorial service will be scheduled at a future date.

Dr. Harris Hinckley

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