Former Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman dies; legacy lives on
COLUMBIA - The legacy of former Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman is living on through his community, his co-workers and the city trails he championed.
Hindman died today, he was 86. He was Columbia's longest serving mayor, in office from 1995 to 2010.
"He always had a smile, and I get sad when I think about not being able to see that face again," said Michael Griggs, the director of Columbia Parks and Recreation.
Griggs said Hindman was ill for a couple of years and was fighting the lung disease pulmonary fibrosis. But it was Hindman's concern for the wellbeing of others that led to one of his greatest contributions to Columbia.
Hindman thought a healthy ecosystem - good trails, parks and schools - to be the vital to Columbia.
"His legacy is all about a healthier community," Griggs said.
Hindman was endorsing that lifestyle "to the very end," Griggs said.
Hindman would ride his bike from the south side of town where he lived to the east side of town for meetings, Griggs said.
"My vision of Darwin is on a bicycle, and I'll never forget that," he said.
Griggs said Hindman's role as mayor and his leadership were always reliable.
"It was always nice having that same steady leadership that we grew accustomed to have," he said.
Hindman is widely known as the father of the Katy Trail. Over the objection of some state leaders, he pushed for the conversion of the abandoned MKT railroad bed to a recreational trail for cyclists, walkers and other users.
"He had this uncanny ability to take someone who was opposed to something and come up with some ideas and talk about ways it could work," Griggs said.
Hindman was always bringing new ideas to the table regarding park design, Griggs said. Hindman came up with the idea of dog-hitching stations for walkers, runners and bikers to tie up their dogs when they stopped on the trail.
Griggs said Hindman was always a team player and found solutions to make most of the community happy.
City Council Member Ian Thomas said of Hindman, "He wanted to make sure everyone had a satisfying life."
Thomas said Hindman used that mind-set as a guide while he was mayor and through his life.
"That was the goal that drove him to lead the effort to establish Columbia's activity and Recreation Center (ARC) and also develop the trail system that Columbia is so proud of," Thomas said.
Hindman's funeral service is set to take place Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Calvary Episcopal Church on Ninth Street.