Kinard Dale ‘Kin’ Hensarling Sr.

Published 10:46 am Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Funeral services for Kinard Dale “Kin” Hensarling Sr. of Terry are 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Crystal Springs United Methodist Church. Graveside service will be 3:30 p.m. at Hillcrest Cemetery, Petal, Miss. Stringer Funeral Home, Crystal Springs, is in charge of arrangements.

Visitation is Tuesday from 5 until 7 p.m. and Wednesday from noon until 1 p.m. at the church.

Mr. Hensarling, 88, died Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, at St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital. His wife and all his children were by his side.

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The second of six children, Kin was born on July 5, 1925, in Perry County to George Auby Hensarling and Dona Alma Shoemake Hensarling. He grew up in Petal and attended Petal High School.

In 1943, before completing his senior year, he answered the call of Uncle Sam and enlisted in the Army Air Corp. Part of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, he was a radio operator on the Ugly Duckling, a B-17 bomber. He flew over thirty missions.

When the war ended he enrolled at Mississippi State University. He then completed his degree in journalism at the University of Alabama in 1950. While working at the Jackson Daily News he met Kathryn “Kitty” Wilson, a student at Millsaps College. They fell in love and married on April 7, 1951. To that union were born Dale, Gary, Diane, and Heather. They raised their family in Jackson where Kin worked for the Daily News, then Clarion Ledger newspaper, for twenty-seven years.

He was an active duty officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve until 1977 when he retired as a lieutenant colonel. In 1977 the family moved to Vicksburg for Kin to become the circulation manager of the Vicksburg Evening Post newspaper. Upon his retirement from the Post in 1994, he and Kitty moved to “the farm” in Terry, where, Kin said, he would be “for the duration.”

He was an active part of community and civic organizations and was a natural leader in any endeavor or interest he pursued. Among his many memberships and associations were Eagle Scout, Sigma Chi Fraternity, the Pearl F & AM Lodge and York Rite of the Masonic Temple, Sertoma Club of Jackson, Miss., Cattlemen’s Association, National Cattlemen’s Association, Vicksburg Shrine Club, Lions Club of Crystal Springs, where he was a past president, and the Eighth Air Force Historical Society of Miss., where he served as President and on Board of Directors…just to name a few. He was an active member of Crystal Springs United Methodist Church and the Jerry Lamar Sunday School Class.

After almost forty years he worked to find and reunite all of the original crew of the Ugly Duckling. Because of his initiative they reestablished their strong and deep bond as brothers of the Mighty Eighth and continued regular reunions thereafter. Kin was the last surviving member of the crew.

Anyone who knew Kin knows that to say “he retired” would be anything but accurate! He said recently that he had finally figured out what he was going to say to God when he got to heaven, “Just put me in the workaholics’ room.” He gave his all to the newspaper business and the Air Force Reserve. But his true passion was farming and cattle.

In 1957 he started raising cattle as a sideline. It turned into a full-scale operation leading to his becoming a breeder for the National Limosin Association. It was often remarked, playfully, that if “Kin had to choose between his cows and Kitty, Kitty would run a close second.” The same might be said of his coonhounds and squirrel dogs. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved to hunt. He was the founder and first president of the Swinging Bridge Sportsman Association where “Little Red” and “Rebel” were coon hunting champions. In recent years he bred and trained registered Feist squirrel dogs.

Gardening was a passion and part of his life since boyhood. He raised a garden year round and was always planning for next year. In recent years he shared his love of gardening, including raising sugar cane and making syrup, with his dear friends, Charles Burton and Charles McAlpin.

He fought the good fight and surprised us all on Sunday morning. The Kingdom is a saint richer this day and though we are saddened we celebrate his reunion with that great cloud of witnesses up above.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Auby and Alma Hensarling; brothers Howard and George; sister-in-law, Betty, and niece, Debbie Hebert.

He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Kitty: sons, Dale, and wife, Tricia, of Opelousas, La. and Gary, and wife, Jane, of Clinton; daughters, Diane Russell and husband, Herschel, of Terry, and Heather, of Gulfport; four grandchildren, Amy (Jim), Kevin (Tabitha), Lindsey (Richard), and Rebekah (Manrique); ten great-grandchildren (and one on the way); sister Gloria, and husband, A.G., of Hattiesburg; sister-in-law, Liz, of Hattiesburg; brothers, Doyle and wife, Dean, of Picayune, and Tom, and wife, Carole, of Picayune; and many nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation in his memory to the charity of your choice.