Obituary Notice: Sam Hinton


Birch Aquarium at Scripps is saddened by the death of Sam Hinton, one of the greats in the aquarium's history and a beloved former San Diego resident. He died Sept. 10 at the age of 92. Hinton served as aquarium director from 1946-1964 and was instrumental in transforming the aquarium from a small wooden structure on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus to the larger Scripps Aquarium, which many San Diego adults fondly remember visiting as a child. Scripps Aquarium opened in 1950 and remained the institution's public outreach center until Birch Aquarium at Scripps was built in 1992. Hinton was tirelessly dedicated to the aquarium, serving not only as the director, but also as the artist for most of the aquarium exhibits and the public information office for news media. He produced more than 1,200 installments of a weekly newspaper feature called "The Ocean World," and never hesitated to answer the endless questions from visitors. Nationally, Hinton is considered one of the fathers of the folk-song movement and recorded more than a dozen solo albums during his lifetime. After his retirement in 1980, Hinton devoted himself to performing full-time at local school assemblies, encouraging thousands of children each year to be kind to others and the environment through humorous songs. The City of San Diego honored him in 1988 by designating a day as Sam Hinton Day. Hinton was born in 1917 in Tulsa, Okla. He earned a degree in zoology in 1940 from UCLA and married Leslie Forester, also an artist and musician. He served as director of the Desert Museum in Palm Springs before coming to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in 1943. He spent the next five decades working for the university. Hinton is survived by his daughter, Leanne; his son, Matthew; two grandchildren; and a great grandchild.

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