Smith County Commissioner Don Pinkerton Remembered For Giving Spirit - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/4/05-Tyler

Smith County Commissioner Don Pinkerton Remembered For Giving Spirit

With a heavy heart and empty chair, the Smith County Commissioners' Court convened Monday morning. Precinct 2 Commissioner Don Pinkerton died suddenly this weekend.

The session started with a prayer for Pinkerton and those who grieve. Pinkerton died Sunday morning at his ranch in the Hill Country of an apparent heart attack. He was 56-years-old and had been on the Commissioners' Court since 2002. Before that, he served as a Tyler City Council member. Pinkerton was President and CEO of Tyler's RPR Construction Company.

As a well- known businessman, Don Pinkerton touched many lives and served many charitable organizations.

Friends remember him as not just a builder of buildings, but a builder of community spirit.

"He was a fine fine man and we are in such shock over this," says County Judge Becky Dempsey.

Many friends say Don Pinkerton didn't seek the limelight, but wanted to make a difference in any way he could.

Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith: "Don brought a very quiet dignity to this court, and when he did speak, people listened. He was a very intelligent man."

They say he brought his wisdom and guidance to several East Texas charities, the Hospice of East Texas for one. There, he led construction on the new building where those with terminal illnesses can find peace and die with dignity.

Friend Bobby Curtis says Pinkerton was a rare man of giving.

"[He would] work all day at their business, then work the rest of the day and half the night giving time back to the community. Don was one of those people," Curtis says.

With the Salvation Army, he worked to construct the new Center of Hope -- giving hope to the less fortunate.

Salvation Army Major Richard Hathorn: "He has just been a friend year after year, someone we can rely on, someone who would be there when we needed him."

Building his community, one gift, sometimes one brick at a time, Pinkerton will be missed.

He was a successful business leader, but working for others became his passion.

"He told me at one time that if he knew then what he knew now, he would have been a civil servant as a career because he loved it, he thrived on it," Curtis says.

Pinkerton's wife of 36 years, Pat, says she's grateful for prayers from the community.

In a statement, she added, "This is a great loss for his family and those who knew the integrity of this kind, generous, Christian man that loved his community and freely gave of his time and talents."

Funeral services are now planned. Visitation will be Tuesday night from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Stewart Family Funeral Home on Tyler's Old Jacksonville Highway.

The funeral is planned for 3:00 p.m. Wednesday at Marvin United Methodist Church in downtown Tyler.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked donations be made to the Salvation Army and Hospice of East Texas.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.

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