Jeffrey Durgan Hinckley

May 22, 2024

Jeffrey Durgan Hinckley
Monticello, NY

Jeffrey Durgan Hinckley, 72, passed away on Thursday, May 16, 2024. Jeff spent the last day of his life at one of his favorite places in the world, Monticello Raceway, a harness racing track in the Catskills Mountains of New York.

Jeff was born in Maine to parents Ethel and Malcolm Hinckley. Jeff had a multitude of serious health issues from an early age. He was not expected to survive brain surgery at age 13. He had serious heart and G-I issues at age 40, and he experienced 2 heart attacks since November, 2023. Even those that knew him casually knew Jeff was incredibly tough, a survivor.

In 1963 the Hinckley family moved from Bucksport to Ellsworth, Maine so that Jeff’s father Mac could be more actively involved in the R. D. Hinckley Corporation, a 3rd generation family-owned business that was a large regional lumber and building materials retailer.

Jeff was a superb student in Ellsworth schools, earning both High Honors in Mathematics and Total Achievement from the Maine Teachers Association when he graduated from EHS in 1969. Due to his health Jeff had a draft deferment and was not called to military service in Vietnam like many of his male classmates. Jeff attended the University of Maine in Orono for 3 years, majoring in Chemical Engineering. Jeff felt compelled to accept the position of General Manager of R. D. Hinckley Corp and his mathematics and engineering skills were put to immediate and frequent use deciphering residential and commercial blueprints, creating the appropriate materials list takeoffs, and providing superior customer service to his appreciative customers.

In spite of numerous health challenges Jeff was an avid outdoorsman. He was a registered Maine Guide. He spent many years guiding “out-of-staters” on woodcock, ruffed grouse, and pheasant hunts. Jeff treasured his Brittany Spaniels Tonto and Junior. However, Jeff’s greatest personal outdoor interest was fishing. He enjoyed catching, tagging, and releasing the strippers he caught in the Union River. Jeff was always the last one to leave his freshwater fishing spots—often precariously perched on beaver dams—and invariably seemed to catch the most and biggest brook trout, bass, and, in his later years in NY, walleyes.

Jeff’s greatest love was harness racing. As a teenager Jeff followed family friend Charles “Jazz” Holt to all the Maine agricultural fairs and extended race meets in Bangor, Lewiston, Cumberland, and Scarborough. In his 20’s Jeff became an owner of racing Standardbreds, and he campaigned his horses with Trainer Warren Strout throughout Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

After nearly two decades of dealing with the stresses of running a large retail business as GM of R. D. Hinckley Corporation, Jeff decided to pursue his greatest passion—horse racing. This decision eventually led him to work as a Caretaker for prominent horseman Arthur Green at Monticello Raceway. Jeff contentedly invested the last two decades of his life enjoying the beauty of the Catskills.

Jeff never married nor had children. However, he imparted his baseball knowledge, passion, and skills to dozens of boys playing in Ellsworth Little League as Coach of the Cubs.

Those that knew Jeff best saw through his gruff “tough guy” demeanor and had an appreciation for his heart of gold. Jeff went on hundreds of harness racing adventures throughout the northeastern states with his brother Scott and close friends Charles Holt, Roice Saunders, and Russell Boynton. A special highlight was watching Niatross win the Meadowlands Pace in 1980 with Scott tagging along.

Jeff is survived by his sister Patti-Jean Hinckley, brother Scott (wife Patti) of Florida, brother Kelly (wife Carole) of Florida, as well as nephews Kirk, Christopher, and Ryan and niece Nicole.

At Jeff’s request there will be no memorial service. A family gathering will be held this summer at Seaside Cemetery in Blue Hill to honor Jeff’s memory. The first annual Jeffrey D. Hinckley Memorial Pace was contested on May 20 in Race 6 at Monticello Raceway with pacer Cinco Senorita earning a splendid trophy for Driver Greg Merton and Owner-Trainer Marianna Monaco.

Those wishing to honor Jeff’s memory might consider donating to Trout Unlimited, P. O. Box 98166, Washington, DC, 20090, the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, 240 Main St, Goshen, NY, 10924, or a local youth sports organization of their choice.

Arrangements are under the direction of the VanInwegen-Kenny, Inc. Funeral Home of Monticello NY; for additional information or to send an online condolence, please visit