Business & Professional
Homer Hiner spoke softly and laughed easily. Though trucks traveled across the country hauling trailers bearing his name in letters eight feet high, the successes he most relished were earned by working behind the scenes, on projects he believed made his hometown special.
Homer Hiner was born into a Lancaster Township farm family, one of six siblings. He was president of the Class of 1952 at Lancaster High School and played on the Lancers’ 1951 county champion basketball team. He and his teammates rode that triumph into the Huntington County Sports Hall of Fame in 1978.
After serving in the Naval Reserve, including an active-duty hitch as a gunner’s mate on a destroyer, he returned to Huntington to open a diesel engine repair shop on Huntington’s south side. That was a sideline to his “regular” job with American Van Lines. He was on the road for American for a decade before striking off on his own to establish Hiner Transport Inc., in Huntington in 1967.
With the owner often at the wheel, Hiner Transport trucks hauled grain at night and the business prospered. Hiner Transport deliveries eventually spanned the U.S. and crossed the border into Canada. For 32 years, the Hiner fleet grew from three trucks to 132 cabs and 312 trailers. The Hiner workforce — most of it from the Huntington County area — grew from a handful to more than 150 people.
As his business expanded, Homer Hiner was able to retire from driving and devote more of his energies to community projects. He was instrumental in establishing the original Lake Clare BMX track and laid out the Huntington Muzzle-Loaders’ shooting range. He teamed with his wife and business partner, Marj, to plunge into a variety of projects for the Heritage Days community celebration. Homer assembled parade floats and built ticket booths for the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) brat tent, where, every June for more than 30 years, he was a familiar sight grilling the tasty links for the hungry festival crowds. For those efforts, Hiner was named the ABWA Business Associate of the Year in 1983 and eventually became the first man to be welcomed as a member of the ABWA’s Forks of the Wabash chapter.
He kept his hand in professional affairs as a member of the Truckload Carriers Association and Indiana Motor Truck Association boards and by serving on the Committee for Small Carriers for the American Trucking Association.
Homer Hiner was a stalwart member of the Huntington Kiwanis Club, and his family’s philanthropic efforts earned him and his family gratitude from beneficiaries including the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, Ball State University, Parkview Health, and Historic Forks of the Wabash.
His numerous local honors included being named Chief of the Flint Springs Tribe in 2017, and receiving an honorary doctorate in commercial science from Huntington University in 2007 as well as the university foundation’s Distinguished Service Award in 2016.