Syl McNinch, Jr. was born June 18th, 1930 in Bakersfield, CA to his parents Syl & Mabel McNinch. He passed away in his sleep early Wednesday morning, January 12th, 2022, at his home in Thayne, WY surrounded by his family.
Syl grew up in Bakersfield, CA where he enjoyed playing sports and learned to play to the piano. After becoming an all-star varsity baseball player at Bakersfield High School, he accepted a scholarship to play baseball for the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and was recognized as an NCAA All-American in Baseball. He was signed by the Boston Red Sox organization in 1951. That same year, he married his college sweetheart, Donna Lee Fair. He played semi-professional baseball until 1955 and then pursued a career in Federal Civil Service beginning with the United States Forest Service, followed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and finally working for 30 years with the National Science Foundation.
He finished his government service in 1985 having been the head of Programming & Budget. He received the Distinguished Civilian Service Award and the Meritorious Service Award. He was recognized for his service by then President Ronald Reagan, and invited twice to have private White House lunches with the President and First Lady.
He and his wife became converts of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1963, and remained active in their faith their entire lives. They had four children together:
Marilyn Lee (Skinner) Kasie Ann (Sorensen – Deceased 2017), Syl Shawn McNinch, Robert Jamison McNinch, and Laura Lynn (Keane). His wife, Donna, and daughter, Kasie, passed away in 2017. He is survived by his four children, fifteen grandchildren, and thirty three great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Saturday, January 15th, at 1:00 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Thayne, WY.
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