The degree hanging on Erv Hinkle’s wall said he was an attorney; but in his heart, he was a musician.
During his lifetime, Hinkle sold real estate and insurance, booked musicians, and performed a number of other jobs. His career, however, was made up of the gigs he played in hotel lounges and lobbies, in special events halls and at private parties.
“Music was a large part of his life,” said his daughter, Holly Newman of Dunwoody. “He was really devoted to music. Otherwise he’d probably have been a lawyer to make more money.”
Hinkle worked for Ray Bloch Productions, where he helped put together musical ensembles for clients. He was also the band leader of the local Ray Bloch Orchestra during the ‘80s and ‘90s, Newman said. He, along with his wife Bettye Hinkle, led various groups of musicians all over metro Atlanta.
Ervin George Hinkle, called Erv by most, of Atlanta, died Wednesday from complications of a fall a few days earlier. He was 86. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday at H. M. Patterson & Son, Arlington Chapel, which handled the cremation.
Born in Charlotte, N.C., Newman said there was no obvious connection to music in her father’s childhood. She said music was something he really loved to do, but he didn’t study it in college. Hinkle served in the Army for two years, beginning in 1952, where he played in the band. While in the military he met the former Bettye Norris, who was also musically inclined. The couple wed in 1957 and was married for more than 51 years when Bettye Hinkle died in 2009.
Sometime after Hinkle got out of the Army, he attended John Marshall Law School. In addition to real estate, insurance and booking artists, Hinkle ran his own entertainment agency in the ‘60s and ‘70s, his daughter said.
Hinkle played with various musicians all over metro Atlanta, but one of his go-to pianists was Freddie Jones, said his wife, Frankie Jones.
“Freddie played with Erv all through the years,” Jones said, of her husband. “Freddie played with the Ray Bloc Orchestra and Erv would call him for other jobs too.”
A long-time member of the Atlanta Federation of Musicians, Hinkle played several instruments including flute, clarinet, saxophone and piano. He also sang, his daughter said.
“If he could have played music all of the time, I’m sure he would have,” she said. “But he was also a great husband and dad.”
Newman said her father taught her the business side of music, and other important life lessons.
“He was definitely there for us, providing for us,” she said.
In addition to his daughter, Hinkle is survived by his son, Rick Hinkle of Atlanta; and two grandchildren.
Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, an ardent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, recently likened people with pre-existing medical conditions to wrecked cars and appeared to suggest that the sick are at fault for their illnesses just as drivers are at fault for their accidents.
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