Robert Hineman was just 29 years old.

Making memory of student fly high

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By Chris Hopkins

Suzanne Johnson last saw Ryerson engineering student Robert Hineman alive in Sunnybrook’s critical ward the morning of June 17, 1997.

He died at 9 p.m. from pneumonia.

Hineman, 29, was hospitalized after a diving accident four days earlier. He suffered spinal injuries that paralyzed him from the shoulders down, but was expected to live. “I never got to say goodbye to him,” Johnson said.

This week the fourth-year aerospace student is starting a letter writing campaign asking Hineman’s employers and aerospace firms to donate $10,000 to a scholarship in his name.

Ideally, the Hineman scholarship would annually award $1,000 to a Ryerson aerospace engineering students entering fourth year. The recipient would be chosen on the basis of academic standing and demonstrating enthusiasm for flying.

Johnson is also trying to raise $500 to create a memorial — a model plane with a bronze plaque — for Hineman in the basement of Kerr Hall East.

Johnson and a team of classmates raised $180 at Neill-Wycik, collecting beer bottles. The response was so positive, some residents without any bottles gave cash.

Johnson plans to canvass Pitman Hall and the ILLC residences later this month.

The scholarship fund idea arose after Johnson spoke with classmates the day after Hineman’s death.

“He has such a love of aviation,” Johnson said of Hineman, a pilot and flight instructor at Buttonville and Toronto Island Airports.

He planned to teach a pilot’s ground school course as a volunteer.


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