Dr. Ernest H. Hinrichs, a retired Ruxton dentist who was a lifelong model railroader and Pennsylvania Railroad buff, died Feb. 23 from complications of Alzheimer's disease at a Lewisburg, Pa., retirement community. He was 90.
The son of a dentist and a homemaker, Ernest Henry Hinrichs was born in Baltimore and raised in Riderwood, where he watched the daily procession of Pennsylvania Railroad passenger and freight trains that passed through the community.
After graduating from McDonogh School in 1940, he enrolled at the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied for two years before enlisting in the Army in 1942.
He served as a private in the Philippines and after the war completed his dental school studies at the University of Maryland Dental School, from which he graduated in 1948.
Dr. Hinrichs joined his father in the practice of dentistry in an office in the 2300 block of N. Charles St. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served with the Army Dental Corps at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.
He remained in the Army Reserves, where he attained the rank of colonel.
Dr. Hinrichs moved his dental practice to his home on Circle Road in Ruxton and later to offices above Harrington's, which is now a Graul's grocery store.
After the Pennsylvania Railroad terminated its Parkton Local trains in 1959 and closed the Ruxton station, Dr. Hinrichs was thwarted in his attempt by the Ruxton-Riderwood-Lake Roland Area Improvement Association to purchase the depot and relocate his practice there.
The neighborhood association objected to any commercial development on the other side of the tracks across from Ruxton, where the station stood, and denied his request. The Pennsy demolished the building in 1963.
Dr. Hinrichs retired in the late 1980s after practicing dentistry several years with a daughter, Dr. Gail H. Heyn, who now lives in State College, Pa.
Throughout his life, Dr. Hinrichs collected and built model railroads and vintage toys.
"Trains were his passion in this world and the Pennsylvania Railroad was his favorite. He was also active in the effort to preserve President Street station in downtown Baltimore," said his wife of 59 years, the former Susanne Scheffer.
Dr. Hinrichs was also an accomplished pen-and-ink artist and enjoyed drawing scenes of Pennsy railroad trains and stations from the steam era. He also edited his father's memoir, "Listening In: Intercepting German Trench Communications in World War I," which was published in 1996.
Dr. Hinrichs, who had moved from a Timonium townhouse to the Riverwoods Retirement Community in Lewisburg in 2003, enjoyed spending summers at a second home in Eagles Mere, Pa.
He was a former communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton.
Plans for a memorial service were incomplete.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Dr. Hinrichs is survived by a son, Robert P. Hinrichs of Seattle; another daughter, Cynthia Clare Hinrichs of State College; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun