Ray Hines, a devoted family man and business owner who served doughnuts to regulars ranging from cops to competitive runners at his popular Sacramento store, died Jan. 16 of a possible heart attack, his family said. He was 59.
Mr. Hines owned and operated the Yum Yum Donuts shop on Franklin Boulevard at 12th Avenue for more than 20 years. Working 15 to 18 hours a day, he kept display cases stocked with row upon row of deep-fried cakes tempting customers with glaze, sprinkles, sugar, cinnamon and jelly.
Open 24 hours a day near Highway 99, the store draws a steady stream of neighbors, commuters, graveyard workers, police and California Highway Patrol officers.
“Ray worked seven days a week – weekends, holidays, every day,” former wife Debbie Hines said. “He was just a workaholic who devoted his life to it. His last vacation was in 1989, when he took his sons to Kentucky to see his mom.
“He liked making customers happy,” Hines said. “He liked making people happy, and it gave him satisfaction to help the community.”
Mr. Hines donated doughnuts at discount prices to many churches, civic groups and community events. For the last six years, he produced 175 dozen doughnuts on Thanksgiving morning for Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services to reward hungry volunteers, VIPs and participants at the annual Run to Feed the Hungry.
“He did it special for us because he wanted to be part of our work helping the community,” food bank chief operating officer Jeremiah Rhine said. “There’s no doubt that he was a hard worker. He was just a very nice, pleasant man.”
A simple guilty pleasure to many was a life calling to Ray Thomas Hines Jr., who had worked in doughnut shops since he was 15 in his native Lexington, Ky.
Born Oct. 13, 1954, to a pharmacist and a homemaker who volunteered in the community, he packed up his Ford Pinto in 1976 and drove across the country to pursue his dream of living in California. He went to work at Foster’s and Winchell’s doughnut chains in Orange County, where he met and married his wife in 1977.
“He had a love of sailing, and he wanted to sail around the world,” said Debbie Hines, who was married to him for 18 years before they divorced. “But then we started a family, and he gave it up to work. He was totally devoted to his sons.”
Mr. Hines rose in the industry to be an area manager for Yum Yum Donuts in Southern California and the Inland Empire area. He moved to Sacramento in 1984 to oversee the chain’s stores from the Bay Area to Modesto. When the company began selling franchises, he took over the Franklin Boulevard store in 1991.
“He wanted to stay in one spot, because he was on the road a lot” as area manager, his former wife said. “It was better for us as a family.”
Mr. Hines is survived by two sons, Thomas and Joshua; four sisters, Laura, Mary, Jo and Linda; two brothers, Nathan and Philip; and six grandchildren.
A service is set for 2 p.m. Friday at Unity Missionary Baptist Church, 3308 Fourth Ave., Sacramento. Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association.
Call The Bee’s Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila.