More than 500 community members, state and local officials and civic leaders gathered at Temple Beth-El on Friday to pay their respects to the “Father of Hemisfair" and civil rights leader, Bill Sinkin, who died Monday, February 3 at the age of 100.
A little over ten years ago, Bill celebrated his 90th birthday at La Villita. At the celebration, all guests were asked to wear a bowtie--Sinkin's signature accessory--in his honor.
Rabbi Samual Stahl said Bill Sinkin never quit pursuing a new goal. Even at his 90th birthday party, he carried a file folder, labeled, “Future Projects.”
Sinkin is credited with making HemisFair a reality in the 1960s, and current president and CEO of the new Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation, Madison Smith, says Bill Sinkin remained a mentor to the new team until his passing.
“He has always been involved. He has never disengaged from this. And that’s one of the great things about him. Bill showed us that passion and vision aren’t dependent on age. Bill was passionate, visionary, generous, and encouraging the whole time he lived. That, as much as anything else, has helped us at Hemisfair.”
A gospel choir sang in Sinkin’s honor. The NAACP presented a Resolution honoring Sinkin for his bravery in establishing the first fully integrated bank in the state of Texas and because of his uncompromising courage in convincing San Antonio restaurants and other businesses to integrate, even in the face of the civil rights conflicts of the 1960s.
The State of Texas also presented a proclamation in Sinkin’s honor for his many accomplishments, including his fight for equality and for persons with disabilities by founding Goodwill of San Antonio. And he advocated for the environment. Senator Leticia Van de Putte said Sinkin’s efforts resulted in schools across the state converting to solar energy.
Sinkin also was remembered as a father, grandfather, uncle and husband. Van de Putte said Sinkin lived Dr. Martin Luther king’s statement to society: “What are you doing in service to others?