LAKE BLUFF — Anytime something was needed in Lake Bluff, Thomas A. Tincher was there for his friends, his village and his country.
Whether serving in local government, leading the Lake Bluff History Museum, organizing holiday observations for Lake Bluff American Legion Post 510, getting an online certificate to officiate at the wedding of a friend’s daughter or spying for his country, Tincher was there.
“There wasn’t another guy who was more of a Mr. Lake Bluff,” said Village President Kathy O’Hara. “He was so important in so many things.”
“He was the heart and soul of many of the town’s organizations, including the museum,” said Catherine McKechney, the current museum president who succeeded Tincher.
Tincher, 84, died June 18 leaving five adult children, four grandchildren along his wife of 63 years, Ethel Tincher.
“They were a team in every sense of the word,” said McKechney.
McKechney said the Tinchers teamwork extended to using his wife and first child, then a baby, as props when he was stationed in Korea as a special duty CIC field officer in the United States Army.
“He would take a picture of Ethel (Tincher) and the baby with (government) buildings in the background,” said McKechney. “He was a spy.”
Tincher Organized Civic Events
Though McKechney said Tincher rarely talked about himself or his exploits, he organized the village’s observances for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, demonstrating his loyalty to both veterans and his community.
Stuart Karno, the adjutant of the local American Legion post, used one word to describe what Tincher did for the organization: “Everything,” said Karno. “He was the one who made sure everything got done for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. He wrote the script for the ceremony. He was the glue that made everything stick together.”
Karno said Tincher’s willingness to make sure things worked to perfection went to their personal friendship as well. When it was time for his daughter to wed, Karno said she wanted Tincher to perform the ceremony.
“He’s not a minister but he got one of those online certificates and he officiated at her wedding,” said Karno. “I’m going to miss him every day of my life.”
As a member of the museum board and its past president, Tincher played a key role in the restoration of a 1920s truck once used to deliver ice to village homes. Thanks to the successful effort, the truck from the Lake Bluff Ice Co. is seen in the village’s Fourth of July parade and other official events, according to an August 9, 2009, DailyNorthShore.com story.
When the museum learned about the ice truck and the willingness of its then current owner to donate it to the museum, Tincher drove to the warehouse where it was stored to take a look.
“It was not in good shape,” McKechney said. “There was a lot of work to do. Tom (Tincher) decided to take it on faith and somehow the faith was rewarded. Tom Tincher was a huge part of that.”
Tincher Served as Village Clerk, Trustee
Tincher was the Lake Bluff village clerk from 1987 to 1990 and spent two terms as a member of the Village Board of Trustees between 1990 and 1999. As a trustee, he chaired the Public Safety Committee and was always quick to volunteer to help with a project.
“He was really an invaluable part of our community,” said O’Hara.
Along with all his time volunteering for the village, Tincher spent more than 40 years working in the classified advertising and marketing departments of the Chicago Tribune, according to information from Wenban Funeral Home.
The ice truck played a role when Tincher became only the second person to win Lake Bluff’s Phyllis Albrecht Award for Distinguished Community Service. O’Hara said the award was established in 2014 to honor Albrecht, the village’s first woman president and trustee. It was given to Tincher June 13, 2016.
“They picked him up in the ice truck and brought him to the ceremony,” said McKechney.
After attending Shattuck School in Faribault, Minn., and Northwestern University, Tincher eventually moved to Lake Bluff in 1973. In addition to his wife Ethel, Tincher is survived by his children Mike (Jo), Cliff (Kelly), Tom, Holly (Todd) and Sid (Heide). He is also survived by grandchildren Lila, Hanna, Slaid and Shane as well as a sister, Jenny Cleaves.
Services were held June 23 at the Church of St. Mary in Lake Forest.