Darwin Alexander Hindman Jr. died June 17, 2019, at home of pulmonary fibrosis. A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22, 2019, at Calvary Episcopal Church, 123 S. Ninth St.
He was born April 30, 1933, in Columbus, Ohio, to Darwin Alexander Hindman and Virginia Doak Hindman. After his mother’s death, he was adopted in 1965 by his stepmother, Nancy Elizabeth “Betty” Bebout Hindman.
He arrived in Columbia with his parents in 1936, when his father joined the faculty of the University of Missouri.
He attended school on the University of Missouri campus from kindergarten through law school, at the University Lab School and then the University of Missouri. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1955 and a JD from the Law School in 1961. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi social fraternity and Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. In 2014, he was awarded a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from the University of Missouri.
He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1955 to 1958 as a B-47 bomber pilot with the Strategic Air Command. He served in the Reserves from 1958-62. His rank at discharge was Captain.
He married Axie Anderson July 23, 1960. They have two children, Ellen (Ian) Thomas and Darwin Alexander “Skip” (Betsy) Hindman III. They have four grandchildren, Emily and Jack Thomas and Walter and Darwin “Sandy” Hindman IV.
He began his practice of law in 1961 in Mexico, Missouri. In 1967, he opened a law firm in Columbia, where he practiced until 2010. He was elected mayor in 1995 and served five terms.
Darwin believed that people working together could make a positive impact on the world and that his role was public service. He was especially inspired to promote policies to help people live healthier lives and enjoy and preserve nature. He often spoke of using policy to help people live more satisfactory lives.
One of his inspirations was time spent at a small, rustic cabin built by his family in northern Minnesota, which has come to be a treasured place for family connections.
He got his political start working on campaigns for environmental causes, such as preserving the Meramec River and Irish Wilderness. In the 1980s, he promoted the construction of Columbia’s MKT trail as a pilot rail-trail project and then became the founder and chairperson of the Katy Trail Coalition. His efforts to create the Katy trail included testimony before the U.S. Senate to promote legislation, which made rail-trails possible all over the country.
He promoted creative ideas such as Columbia’s now-defunct deposit ordinance, its innovative sewage-treatment wetlands and the building of a public recreation center. The efforts, which led to the building of the ARC, took decades and two failed campaigns before it was finally approved by voters.
Other causes he supported included the city’s Percent for Art policy; a salt drive for Kutaisi, Columbia’s sister city in the Republic of Georgia; co-chairing the Citizens Committee for Soil, Water and State Parks in 1996 and 2006; and the creation of a Race Relations Task Force for the city in 1996.
His work was acknowledged by many groups, including the following awards and recognitions:
- Conservation Federation of Missouri: Special Award of Appreciation for leadership in the campaign for the KATY Trail (1987).
- Columbia Chamber of Commerce: Outstanding Citizen Award (1989).
- The Missouri Bar Association Thomas D. Cochran Community Service Award for the Missouri lawyer “whose service and professionalism has significantly enhanced his community” (1990).
- University of Missouri: Alumni Achievement Award (1991).
- MU School of Law: Honorary initiate to The Order of the Coif (1992).
- Chevron-Times Mirror Magazines: Conservation Award: Citizen (1995).
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Association: Community Award (1997; 2003 for support of the John William Boone Home and African American History).
- City of Kutaisi, Republic of Georgia: Honorary Citizen.
- Missouri Parks and Recreation Association: Public Achievement Award (1999).
- Columbia Values Diversity Celebration: Special Award for Promotion of Diversity and Race Relations (2003, 2010).
- MU QEBH Honorary Initiate (2004).
- Voluntary Action Center: Community Service Award (2005)
- University of Missouri: College of Arts and Science, Distinguished Alumnus Award (2006).
- Missouri Recreation and Parks Association: Hall of Fame (2009, initial class).
- Robert Wood Johnson Leadership for Healthy Communities Program: the first National Leadership for Healthy Communities Awards (2009).
- Women’s Intersport Network: Kent Heitholt Memorial Award in Honor of Extraordinary Efforts on Behalf of Women in Sports (2010).
- Howard B. Lang Jr. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service to the City of Columbia (2010).
- American League of Bicyclists, the first National Outstanding Achievement Award (2010).
- Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI).
- Special Outstanding Service Award (2010).
- The Columbia-Boone County League of Women Voters Outstanding Citizen Award (with wife Axie) (2010).
- Trail Blazer Award, National Rails to Trails Conservancy (2011).
- Boone County Missouri Historical Society Hall of Fame (with wife Axie) (2017).
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to one of the following: Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation or Columbia Parks and Recreation Fund, including the Darwin and Axie Discovery Garden, or the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Checks for any of the organizations may be sent c/o Parker-Millard Funeral Service, 12 E. Ash St., Columbia, MO 65203.
Condolences may be left online for the family at www.parkermillard.com.