Rodney and Jennifer Hinze, (pronounced Heinz, like the ketchup), are lucky to have met. As a 10-year-old, Rod accepted a dare from his brother (he’s one of nine siblings) and another friend, to hop on the back of a moving UPS truck and hold on. Except, he couldn’t. He landed in the hospital for a week, in a coma. Having survived that experience, he grew up in Arizona, while Jen spent her youth in California.
Rod was, and still is, an avid tennis player. Rod played and taught tennis in college and even made money stringing racquets for others (he still strings his racquets at home, today). He’s so good, that he’s currently ranked 4th in the State of Texas United States Tennis Association’s Men’s 30’s Singles (even though he’s currently 42 years old).
Rod recalls being quite the ladies man and recounted how he met Jen. “It was love at first sight for me”, said Rod. “We met at Brigham Young University in September 1998, in an auditorium-style classroom. The professor asked us to find a partner for that day’s project. I found the prettiest girl in the room and jumped over two rows to get to her.” Jen smiled and said “He was just there, in my face!” They married seven months later, in April 1999. Both went on to receive their masters in accounting and landed jobs at Goldman Sachs.
Now, Jen works full time for the Crystal Charity Ball organization and Rod runs a hedge fund. Before and after work, the couple focuses on their four children, Savannah (12), Will (10), Lila (8) and Hazel (5), as well as their dog, Buster. They’ve raised their children in two Park Cities homes, one on Hanover and the current one in the 4400 block of Stanford. They credit, in part, the Benac family as having made a big impact on them and their decision to move to the Park Cities. Jen said “We think it’s a family-oriented community, the schools are great and we feel our investment in real estate here is safe”. The Hinzes know their neighbors and Jen shared that what makes their house so great is that “not only do you share front yards, but back yards, too. Our kids run to and from friends’ backyards, by way of the alley”. The kids play on the front yard tree swing, the backyard trampoline and spend a lot of time in their swimming pool. “We do like to go to the University Park community pool, as well”, said Jen, “and Savannah is an amazing diver”.
Of course, there have been plenty of mishaps along the way, like the time Savannah jumped on the bunk bed, hit her head on the ceiling fan and required three staples (later, it was handy having the ER doctor, next door on Hanover, remove those staples). Or, the time Lila almost lost a toe (Jen passed out). And, remember that car that landed in the Hitzelberger water fountain (Lovers & Hillcrest)? That was Jen’s car that got hit and pushed into the fountain, (and, really, it wasn’t her fault). Probably, one of the scariest moments, was when the family took a vacation and hopped across rocks to cross near a water fall. Will strayed too close to the edge, lost his footing and slipped, clinging to the rock’s edge, with rushing water and a 20-foot drop below him. Rod grabbed his son’s arm and pulled him up to safety. Will recalled, “my dad definitely saved my life”.
Rod talked about a life-changing experience he received between the ages of 19-21, when he spent two years on a mission trip in Denver, Colorado. He now is a mentor and advisor for Boy Scouts of America. He's also President of the Young Men’s program (ages 12-18) at his church, where he facilitates career nights and service projects. The family’s faith plays an integral role in their lives. They read scripture and pray together every evening and make a point of having a family dinner around the dining room table every Sunday. They are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
When asked how they keep their marriage healthy, the couple talked about their Saturday date nights, reading scripture together every day as a family, and sharing the load. “We’re really teammates, sharing the load financially, with housework and with the kids”, said Jen. The family regularly watches the t.v. show “This is us” together and they bond on skiing trips to Tahoe and time spent at their ranch property. Jen admits, “the only thing I might change is that we don’t have family here”. The kids added that they would also change having to take piano lessons.
The family loves their home, and the kids each have a favorite space. Savannah said it’s her bedroom, because of her book and art collection. She is a voracious reader of fantasy and historical fiction and works every Saturday at Zhen Music and Arts Institute, which helps her add to her collection of art. Will said his favorite place in the home is the garage, where he hits tennis balls. Lila would choose the yard, to practice her gymnastics and Hazel is happy in the playroom.
“Would I have more children? Maybe!” Jen said. “I didn’t know if I could have children. We needed help with our first three and then Hazel came along on her own. I’ve learned how essential the early years are in raising children. We spend a lot of time making sure our children have a good education and a happy home, and do what we can to help them feel loved.”
Lynne Lowder is a guest contributor for BubbleLife and Realtor with Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty. She is a Park Cities mom, with three children in HPISD. If you know of a Park Cities family interested in being our next featured family, please contact Lynne at 214-500-2866.