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Robert Howe Pinckney

Dr. Robert Howe Pinckney, O.D., of Jackson, Ga., passed from a full life of 93 years on May 17, 2014. He was born in Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 18, 1920 to Edward Hall Pinckney Sr. and Harriet Vernon Whitaker Pinckney. Raised in Charleston and Mount Pleasant, Robert was president of the class of 1939 at Charleston High School and of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at the College of Charleston where he received a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1943. During World War II, Robert served his country for three years at Fort McPherson. As part of the Medical Laboratory Corps, he evaluated and diagnosed diseases affecting U.S. troops. Following the war, he taught biology, French and typing for several years at the high school in Milner, Ga. There he met Kathleen Ethridge Weldon at her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Robert and Kathleen married in Milner on Dec. 28, 1948. The young couple ventured to Chicago where Robert attended the Northern Illinois College of Optometry, graduating in 1951. They returned to Middle Georgia, settling in Jackson where they built a life based on family and community service. Four children, Kay, Ellen, Bob and Ed, blessed the marriage. ”Doc” cared for the vision of thousands of Jackson residents over his six decades as the town’s optometrist. For many years he also served a second office in McDonough several days a week. Dr. Pinckney retired in 2012 at age 92 only because his office, a fixture on Third Street in Jackson since the 1950s, was destroyed by fire. Robert loyally participated in the Georgia Optometric Association, serving as president of District 4 and receiving numerous continuing education citations. His ongoing collaboration with those in the optometric community in his last years was a source of great pride. A civic leader as well, Robert was a charter member and the first president of the Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) in Butts County. He was extremely proud of the Industrial Day activities the Jaycees began in the 1950s to bring business to the area. In later years, he served several terms as president of the Jackson Kiwanis Club and chaired the administrative board of the Jackson United Methodist Church. His many contributions to the community were recognized by the Butts County Chamber of Commerce with a Shining Light Award in 2007. In the late 1950s, Kathleen and Robert joined other young couples in creating a Canasta Club, enjoying those monthly dinner gatherings for decades. During the ’70s and ’80s, a square dance club in Butts County, the Jacks’n Jills, provided great fun. In his later years, an annual highlight for Robert was attending both Master 4-H camps in the North Georgia mountains and at Jekyll Island each summer. He loved visiting with friends from around the state and the nightly square dancing as recently as last summer. Friends in his Sunday school class, his investment club, the Butts County Retired Teachers Association, the American Legion and reunions with Milner High students added richness to his life. Even after moving with Kathleen to DreamCatcher Assisted Living Communities in 2009, he enjoyed nothing more than driving into town and holding court at the Jackson Post Office while picking up the daily mail. Family was always central to Robert’s life. He honored his ancestry through membership in the Sons of the American Revolution and the Society of the Cincinnati (descendants of officers who served with General George Washington), and the roots he and Kathleen planted in Middle Georgia through her family reunions, the Butts County Historical Society and the Butts County Genealogy Society. Kathleen and Robert were married for 63 years. She predeceased him in November 2012. Robert is lovingly remembered and survived by his children, Kay Pinckney of Jackson, Ga., Ellen Pinckney Balthazar and husband Jim of Austin, Texas, Robert Howe ‘Bob’ Pinckney IV and wife Patty of Athens, Ga., and Ed Pinckney and wife Nancy of Cincinnati, Ohio; grandchildren Katie Balthazar Ruback and husband Dave and Matt Balthazar and wife Anna, all of Austin, Texas, Robert Howe ‘Bobby’ Pinckney V and Max Pinckney of Athens, Ga., and Ryan, Mollie and Mimi Pinckney of Cincinnati, Ohio; great-grandchildren, Bennett and Campbell Ruback of Austin, Texas; sister, Betty Green of Collierville, Tenn.; brothers, Lucian Pinckney of Albuquerque, N.M., and Alfred Pinckney and wife Julianna of Charleston, S.C.; sister-in-law, Marinelle Simpson of McDonough, Ga.; devoted friend and assistant, Billy Jenkins of Jackson; and numerous special cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. The family thanks the caregivers from Eternal Hope Hospice, DreamCatcher Farm and Coastal Home Care for easing Robert’s journey through his final months. If desired, the family suggests memorial donations be made to the Georgia Master 4-H Club, designated to the Robert and Kathleen Pinckney Memorial Scholarship, P.O. Box 4721, Eatonton, Ga., 31024, the Butts County 4-H program or a good cause of your choice. A memorial service celebrating the life of Dr. Robert Howe Pinckney will be held Friday, May 23, at 2 p.m. at Jackson United Methodist Church. Rev. Phil DeMore and Rev. Mary Ruth Haisten Davidson will officiate. Family will receive friends from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, May 22, at Sherrell-Westbury Funeral Home and at the church on Friday immediately following the memorial service.

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