Jeanette Bastress was born in Scranton, Pa on September 14,1912. Her parents were John Neubaker Bastress and Margaret Ann Okeson. They brought her up in a Methodist home. She was raised in Mechanicsburg and attended the high school there, which was named after the town. Upon graduation she went on to Hood College and later transferred to Dickinson College while still living at home. She graduated from Dickinson in 1934 with a Bachelor Arts Degree. She later met and married Richard E. Hinkel and lived in Boiling Springs while teaching High School.