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In 1988, the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame was created to honour those that demonstrated unselfish achievement within the realm of agriculture and service to the rural community.
Photo image of Thomas Edward Chinnick

Chinnick, Thomas Edward

- 1996

Inducted: October 30, 1996

Edward "Ed" Chinnick has infused everything he has done for the good of rural Kent with a quiet diplomacy and dependability that have made him universally liked and respected.

He was influential in the dairy industry when it was in its heyday in Kent, and extended that influence into other farm organizations and into municipal service, where the best interests of farmers were of paramount concern.

But concerned as he was for agriculture, a still larger goal was to be fair and generous with everyone. One friend said, "He didn't have to be reminded of the Golden Rule; he lived it"!

Mr. Chinnick is a native of Chatham Township, the son of Abigail Victoria Lee and William Edward Chinnick. He received his early education at S.S. No.2, Chatham Township, and went on to Chatham Vocational School.

Mr. Chinnick was involved in farm organizations early. He was a member of the New St. Andrew's Junior Farmers, and its President in 1942; a member of the Kent County Junior Farmers and President in 1944.

As a dairy farmer, he was involved with the Chatham Milk Producers, as a member, a Director and as President from 1960-1965. The founding of the Ontario Milk Marketing Board, and the establishment of the Kent County Milk Committee, with members from the Chatham, Wallaceburg, Blenheim, Ridgetown and Tilbury Districts, was a time of trial and uncertainty. At that time, there were more than 200 dairy farmers in Kent, compared to nine in 1996.

Mr. Chinnick made many trips to Toronto representing Kent milk producers to get clarification of the new marketing organization and its impact on Kent. This led also to his involvement in the Kent County Holstein Club as a member, Director and President, and in the showing of Holsteins at Ridgetown Fair.

Mr. Chinnick served on the Oxford and District Cattle Breeders' Association for 13 years, a period of rapid growth when the number of artificially-bred cattle increased from a few hundred to thousands. He became President in 1966, a year when the Association was renamed the Western Ontario Breeders' Association, with additional expansion. The multi-lingual Bull Catalogue published by the Association at this time resulted in overseas sale of semen. Mr. Chinnick was an active member of the Kent Federation of Agriculture.

Mr. Chinnick found in his election to Chatham Township Council, new opportunities for service to the rural community. He had a voice in the construction of the McKeough Dam Diversion system, which reduced the danger of flood for urban and rural property-owners. He was instrumental in convincing the St. Clair Conservation Authority, with the evidence of a depth survey, that an icebreaker could be sent as far as Tupperville on the Sydenham; another tool in flood protection.

Mr. Chinnick helped in the purchase of the Kenterieau Heritage Beach Park at Erieau, and in the acquisition of Uncle Tom's Cabin near Dresden, as a member of Kent County Council. He also had a hand in tourist promotion through a Tri-County tour route created to attract more tourists to this area.

He has served rural Kent indirectly on the Chatham Public General Hospital Board, the Wallaceburg Sydenham District Hospital Board, the Victorian Order of Nurses and as a member of the Kent County Waste Management Committee.

Mr. Chinnick is a member of French's United Church, and has served as a teacher, Sunday School Superintendent, Trustee and Steward.

Mr. Chinnick's first wife, the former Florence Merritt, died in 1964, leaving five children. They are Judy Delanghe, Cedar Springs; Gail Blonde, Gary and Rick, Chatham Township; and Robin, of Chatham.

His second marriage to the late Betty Benn Rikley added four children to the family: Reg Rikley, Chatham; Phillip Rikley, London; Stephen Rikley, Tillsonburg; and the late Nancy Rikley.

The mention of Ed Chinnick's name in many farm groups evokes praise, on a lavish scale. One associate said he is a man "who will do anything to help anyone, whether he knows you or not." Another recalled his unstinting work in farm organizations, and added, "He has faced great personal tragedy in his life, and he has met it all with courage."

And still another said, "Ed Chinnick is the most honest, fair and diplomatic man I have ever met."