Family remembers Matanuska River boating accident victim as avid outdoorsman
Dorothy Hrncir says people viewed her late father Martin Rinke as “Captain Safety,” always taking extra precautions when participating in outdoor activities.
“The activities he did were inherently dangerous because of what they were, but he was very safe about everything,” Hrncir said.
Rinke, 63, died Saturday in a boating accident on the Matanuska River. Troopers say Rinke was boating with three other people in other craft when his own overturned; he suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hrncir said a friend called her about the accident. When she saw water rescue crews speed by her home, her family went down to the area where Rinke was and searched for his truck.
“It was still there and so we knew he was involved in the accident, but he was safe,” Hrncir said. “We were pretty sure that he was the one rescuing people instead of the one getting rescued.”
In their tight-knit Glacier View community, Hrncir said her father had an impact on everyone. One of the video projects compiled by a student at Glacier View School from last year includes a segment where Rinke talks about staying safe on Alaska’s waters.
“He did everything Alaska had to offer,” Hrncir said. “He trapped, he mined, he hunted, he flew planes, he rafted.”
Rinke’s grandchildren have picked up his love for the outdoors.
“My daughter will not come inside, because she just wants to be outside,” Hrncir said. “She spent a summer I think when she was 3, just filling up her mud boot up with dirt and just dumping it out.”
Hrncir’s son, Wyatt, says one of his favorite memories was going hunting with Rinke.
“It’s when I first caught my moose with him,” Wyatt said. “The excitement that was going around — the happiness.”
At Rinke’s home in Glacier View, Hrncir said her family holds onto memories of his old Chevrolet Luv truck that she also drove when she was in high school and the barn he built for his wife’s horses.
“This will be Wyatt’s truck,” Hrncir said about the Chevrolet Luv truck. “Wyatt wanted to drive it before my dad passed — even more so now.”
People who worked with Rinke in Alaska’s oilfields say he took pride in what he did and was knowledgeable of the industry. Arina Fell said she worked with Rinke on the North Slope, where he was a directional driller and she was a measurements-while-drilling engineer. They worked for more than three years on the same drilling rigs in Prudhoe Bay, Oliktok Point and offshore in Cook Inlet.
“In the oilfield industry, you move around a lot, from country to country, from state to state and often you don’t know what place to call home anymore,” Fell wrote in an email. “Marty and his family always had doors to their house open.”
John Burton, who also worked with Rinke in the oilfield industry, said people viewed Rinke as a role model and someone they wished to be as they got older.
“We worked with people from China, Africa, young people, young, smart really intelligent engineers,” he said. “Marty always treated people with respect and always treated people as a mentor — and was just a very strong leader.”
Hrncir said in lieu of flowers and donations, their family is asking everyone to support outdoor safety initiatives. She said her mother, Gaila, will likely be selling Rinke’s watercraft and donating the funds towards water safety efforts.