Mr. Jacobs. On behalf of the memory of the late Jack Pinkston I would like to call upon James F. Fitzgerald, Esquire.
Mr. Fitzgerald. May it please the Court, Mr. Chairman, Mrs. Pinkston, friends and members of the Montgomery County Bar: Mr. Jack Pinkston began his practice in this county in 1954. I believe that unlike my predecessors here I had an unusual experience in tht I think I was one of the first attorneys to appear before the court in a case with Mr. Pinkston; and I am quite certain that I was one of the last, for Mr. Heeney and I appeared before this court with Mr. Pinkston two days before he died, on the last day of his active practice.
The story of Mr. Pinkston is, I believe, a Horatio Alger story, very typical of what we like to believe is a life available in the United States. He came from a small community in Florida. His father was a farmer and he came from a very large family, he being one of the younger members of that family, his father not in a position to offer him any assistance in education whatsoever.
As many people before him have done, some of whom have risen to very distinguished heights in the legal profession, in 1922 he joined the Navy, where he served until 1926 as an enlisted man and among other things became a petty officer as a signalman, was assigned to a fleet which in 1924 was engaged in looking for certain around-the-world fliers from Italy who had gone down at sea and were lost.
Mr. Pinkston at that time was not one of the assigned lookouts nor was he on duty, but thought he saw a warning light or a flare and made a report of this to the officer of the deck and was told that he had to be mistaken. With the tenacity and persistance for which he later became well known at this bar he insisted that there was something there to be seen. As a result of his efforts there was a sharp look in the area where he insisted that he had seen a flare, and as a result of this insistence these fliers were found and he was honored by the Navy and by his country with an appointment at that time to the United States Naval Academy, which he declined, stating that he did not want to make a career of the Navy but that all of his life he had aspired to practice law and that some day he would.
At this time and at the time he made these statements Mr. Pinkston had not yet graduated from high school, but upon his honorable discharge in 1926 while working at various jobs he completed his high school education and accumulated some hours in Florida looking forward to a college degree. About this time we had the economic disasters of the Twenty-nine and Thirty years and Mr. Pinkston was again impoverished and had to start over.
He went to Dallas, Texas, where he met his wife, Rubye, and thereafter married her. He became an insurance agent, a very successful one, but his success depended upon mobility by automobile and gasoline and so in 1941 when World War II broke out Mr. Pinkston was forced to discontinue the insurance business and, as he later said, he just plain went broke.
This is the second time that this happened to this man, a series of events which I am sure would have been more than enough to crush the average man; but rather, Jack looked upon this as an opportunity to accomplish what he had always wanted to do, and so he went to Southern Methodist University which had commenced the accelerated program that some of us may be familiar with. So between 1942 and 1945 he completed the work necessary to get an A.B. degree and an LL.B., then became active in rent control affairs representing a number of landlords, which took him repeatedly to the area of Washington and legislative endeavours with regard to rent control work.
He liked the area and when his work was concluded in 1953 came to Washington. At an age when most men would feel that they had found their way in life, that their career was unalterable and that under no conditions could they change their mode of living, he moved to Montgomery County, a new and completely different area, a new and completely different way of life; and without any assistance commenced the practice of law in the year 1954.
Those of us who practiced with or opposed him know that he was a tenacious, hard advocate; a man who gave you nothing, who asked no quarter, defended his clients, represented his cause to the ultimate of his ability on every occasion.
To his friends, to his wife, to his two children, to his six grandchildren, he was known as a kind, warm, loving individual; attributed to by his many, many activities in the Masonic Lodge where he was a Master Mason, a Thirty-six Degree Mason, a Shriner, Past Master of his lodge in Wheaton, a member of the Sojourners and many other Masonic activities and organizations.
In his private life he was very giving of himself. It was while giving himself, in June of 1967, when as National Judge Advocate of the Sojourners he addressed the convention urging them to continue the work of that organization, thanking them for their attention, he turned and fell dead; his life’s work completed.
Mr. Jacobs. In further memory of the late Jack Pinkston I should like to call upon Arthur K. Crocker, Esquire.
Judge Shook. Mr. Crocker.
Mr. Crocker. May it please the Court: unfortunately I never knew Jack Pinkston. It was not until shortly after his death on June 24, 1967, that I had occasion to become acquainted with him and that “acquaintanceship,” if it can be called that, arose through my assuming the responsibility as attorney for Mrs. Rubye L. Pinkston, Jack’s widow and the executrix of his estate.
Because of my acting as attorney for the estate of course I reviewed many files previously handled by Mr. Pinkston, and I am sure that most people here who have reviewed correspondence from other attorneys know that you can form an opinion about that attorney without actually meeting him. It is in this position that I find myself. From those files that I have reviewed I have learned that Jack Pinkston was a vital, hard-driving advocate with a sincere interest in his clients’ welfare. He was warm friendly, and a generous yet an aggressive attorney.
Judge Shook. Responding for the Court is the Honorable John P. Moore.
Judge Moore. On behalf of the Court may I say that Jack Pinkston was, as has been reflected in the remarks that we have just heard, a tireless worker and a resourceful and determined advocate. He was a very capable and effective litigator who knew the Maryland Rules and the rules of evidence and knew how to apply them and did so unflinchingly. He had a broad and practical knowledge of law and procedure and of business.
It is the occasion of perhaps some melancholy reflection on my part that Mr. Pinkston prevailed before me in a motion in an equitable cause, seeking the continuance of that action in order that he might attend the convention in Tennessee in June of last year to which Mr. Fitzgerald referred. I understand that it was after a very moving address before that convention that Jack returned to his seat and succumbed to a fatal heart attack.
We understand and recall that a prior attack with attendant hospitilization at the Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring was a forewarning to him of his condition; but we recognize too, that a man like Jack Pinkston, dedicated as he was to his family, to his beloved wife, to his children and elderly mother, his profession, his clients and to his numerous and important civic and fraternal interests, could not easily reverse the work habits of a lifetime. The circumstances of his passing were certainly in keeping with his boundless energy, his broad-ranging and restless spirit, his faithful application of his talents to all his undertakings.
We pray for him and all whom we honor here today, that they may have eternal life and peace.