Geneva College

 
Dr. Jack Pinkerton remembered

Dr. Jack Pinkerton

"Mr. Pinkerton, who I knew him as in Audubon High School was originally my Physics teacher. He made physics fun and understandable. He later started an electronics course which he asked me to take as a fifth major in my senior year. I really didn't want a heavy course load, but I accepted the challenge. He was a great mentor and friendly and funny. I went on to Drexel to become an electrical engineer. I'm sorry to hear of his passing, but I know he's in a wonderful place with Jesus."

- Ron Magee


"I first met Dr. Pinkerton in labs for required courses in mechanical engineering at Geneva in 1980, but I was one of the few that was interested in TTL and CMOS circuit design as well as motors and generators. He knew of my brother, and our family history at Geneva from Dr. Badger in the Chemistry department – a very good friend to us all. Dr. Pinkerton allowed me to take his courses, even though they were off schedule for the normal Mechanical Engineering degree program. His help and mentoring skills, along with the working relationship with Dr. Reyle – allowed me to work on a senior research project and obtain research honors for what I had done for a Federal Bureau of Mines with a first engagement in robotics. I remember what a hard worker Dr. Pinkerton was, and that impressed me the most. He helped me, but he was also a tough teacher. While he was serious with me, I could understand why he was – and why he was that way with me. Perhaps that impressed me the most.

Currently, I am the Deputy Department Head for the Office of Naval Research, Naval Aviation and Weapons Department, and I oversee approximately $500 million of government investments in critical military research – and as a senior research manager – and I can trace much of my own critical skills in electronics and guidance to that of my family, my instructors and specifically the impressions that instructors like Dr. Pinkerton, Dr. Gordon, and Dr. Reyle - left on me.

I am a better person for being one of their students. What better tribute could I leave than that for Dr. Pinkerton. Thank you, sir."

- Peter A. Morrison (BSME/Geneva, 1983)


"What a gracious man. As a history major, I never had a class with Dr. Pinkerton, but I was always struck by his friendly demeanor and gracious manner."

- Grace Moran Bailey


"Doc was such a great example in so many ways... his humble, tireless service, his sincere love for his students and his work, his patient endurance in trials. Scripture speaks of those "who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality." Doc never sought those things on earth, but by God's grace, he's received them where it matters.

Thanks, Doc, for modeling a living faith. I owe you much.

"Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." James 5:11"

- Matt Gatchell (BSEE, 1993)


"I am just one of countless students who was influenced and mentored by Dr. Pinkerton. Doc was a selfless and Christ-like person who poured himself out by investing into others, taking a genuine interest in the development of those he taught. He led and taught by example, always persevering through adversity and demonstrating a strong work ethic. He challenged and encouraged us all so that we could grow, learn, and produce both professionally and spiritually. No matter how tight his schedule was, he always made time for me if I needed help. It was a privilege and an honor to be taught by such a man. I greatly respected and admired him and am a better person today because of him. I shall never forget the knowledge he gave to me, which helped give me an excellent start as I ventured out into industry as a young professional. I will miss him a lot. 

Even though we grieve now, he can rejoice being in the presence of our Lord. "Well done, good and faithful servant" are the words that come to mind."

- Chris Hamsher (BSEE, 1999)


"The night that Alex proposed to me in the fall of 1967, we ran into Dr. Pinkerton at the Student Union and after hearing the good news, he invited us to his home for dinner that night. His wife, Janet, had roasted a turkey and we dorm kids were treated to a real delight. We spent the evening eating, sharing our good fortune, and playing pingpong. What a blessing Jack Pinkerton was to us!

My own recollections run more to the category of "boys will be boys". Dr. Pinkerton was one of the first faculty members I got to know when I entered Geneva in the fall of '64. We immediately struck up a fondness I didn't achieve with any other profs because he was one of the "physics guys" and that was my major.

Jack would show up for Saturday morning pick-up BB at Metheny FH. The games were pretty intense with no quarter given nor expected. I recall throwing a stray elbow Jack's way that gave him a bloody nose. He was pretty hot about that one but not for long.

Another time my test leads kept disappearing and I would have to make new ones every day before continuing work on a power supply. The professor's pile of leads seemed to grow each day although Jack would only smile and shrug when asked about the wayward test leads. Leaving a bank of capacitors charged up put a stop to that thievery.

There was no end to Jack's goodness and his youthful spirit continued to the end. Just last summer I called him to ask him to take another young man under his wing when he came to Geneva for a visit. Sure enough, the freshman class included yet another student because of Jack's kindness.

I am deeply saddened by Jack's passing. To me he seemed to be unchanging and would continue forever. Sort of like Maxwell's equations. He never got me to understand those but he sure helped me understand life."

- Alex Davison/ Esther Gray Davison


 "Jack was the best man at our wedding on August 29,1959. He was still a good friend the last time we saw him last July. We are grateful for his life."

- Dave and Janet Armstrong


"I have many fond memories of Jack as I grew up in the College Hill RP Church and around the campus. Jack would always take time to be a friend whether at church, around the campus, or at his home. He was a close friend of my father's who never stopped caring for the people he knew and loved. He will be missed but he is with his Savior and Lord. I look forward to the time when we join him and celebrate forever in Christ!"

- Steve Rhodes


"Doc was a wonderful person who inspired me as a student, an individual, a professional and as a Christian. His life serves as an example for us all on how to be the best we can be despite the odds and obstacles we encounter in our lives. 

He was a kind, compassionate individual who helped to teach and mentor me through my college years. I enjoyed all the time I spent working with him as a student and for him through Technology Services. He always put a smile on your face and provided the wisdom and insight to help you in any number of situations (professional, academic and personal). His experiences and knowledge were invaluable parts of his every day lessons which have helped me in my life and professional career to this very day.

I still tell funny stories of all the “rat’s nests” (as proclaimed by Doc) that I created in the EE labs. I remember all of the times that I went into his office and tried to find him behind enormous stacks of books, papers and other artifacts, only to be amazed at the structural integrity of all of the piles of items all the while wondering how an avalanche of paper hadn't occurred (perhaps he could have been a civil engineer).

The news of Doc’s passing was very saddening for me. I want to offer my condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and the Geneva community. I am thankful for the privilege of knowing him and credit him with who I am today.

God bless you Doc Pinkerton and thank you for being a part of my life."

- Kris Broman (BSEE 2001)


"Dr. Pinkerton was an inspiration to me as a student and challenged me in the classroom to successfully complete my EE degree requirements. I am a better person for the experience of being exposed to teachers such as Dr. Pinkerton and am grateful for his efforts. The Geneva engineering program is first-rate because of Dr. Pinkerton's drive and efforts. The proof of the quality of the Geneva engineering program is the ABET accreditation. Thank you Dr. Pinkerton, rest in peace."

- Jeff Mostrando (BSEE, 1984)


"Jack Pinkerton’s life was an incredible journey. No man could be so humble but he was. No man could care so much about the success of others but he did. No man could put in such long hours each day but he did. No man could be so embarrassed when someone pointed to his great qualities but he was. No man could suffer the loss of loved ones and continue on so quickly doing his job but he did. No man could watch his students achieve greatness without wanting acknowledgement for the role he played but Jack didn't need that or want that. No man could have the pain that his body suffered and not want some attention or help but Jack did. Jack gave wholly of himself to prepare so many others for their journey through life. How do you replace a man like Jack within an institution of higher learning, in a field that is so important, in a way that imitates such a great man, you can't. There will be others who can fulfill the teaching requirements but there is no one who can replace Jack. All of us who were fortunate enough to work for him, study under him, and become his friend are the ones who know what a great man he was. We used to tease him that God would send a choir of angels to take him home someday because he was such a good man; I am sure that happened! Jack’s life may have ended but memories of "Doc" cannot be erased."

- Mary Agnes Tondo


"Dr. Pinkerton was a solid, genuine man who showed a sincere interest in his students. He challenged us to do our best. He gave kind, firm advice when needed. I remember him going out of his way on several occasions to give personal advice.

His home was a welcoming place where students could come for a meal and fellowship. I remember several such outings in my four years at Geneva and over the years that followed. He always showed an interest in us, asking direct questions about our lives and interests.

In 1978 Jack Pinkerton persuaded me to try electrical engineering despite my misgivings (you can't see the electrons moving around!). He proved to be a wonderful mentor and role model. He made electrical engineering accessible and interesting. His Christian faith, strong work-ethic, passion for science and technology and genuine interest in his students were all inspiring to me. From his doctoral thesis in nuclear energy to his innovative ideas engaging students in Federal Bureau of Mines projects - I was amazed at the breadth of his engineering knowledge and interests.

He sacrificed his own time and energy to create great learning opportunities for his students. I remember in the late '80's he used a blow torch and heavy soldering iron in his driveway to remove valuable electronic components from used circuit boards in order to give his students more resources to work with! This was tedious and hazardous work. That same extra-effort / beyond the call of duty attitude was normal for Dr. Pinkerton. He invested much of his time and energy to create an excellent, state of the art department for his students.

He will be dearly missed as a humble leader and good friend."

- Tom Tomer (BSEE, 1982)


"There is no way my words can come close to expressing what Dr. Pinkerton meant to me and to us. Kirk, Steve, and Mqhele have all expressed it well. John Bourke (BSEE '81) was gracious enough to call me and leave a message earlier today about Dr. Pinkerton's passing. I guess it's pretty clear when Dr. Pinkerton was in his prime. However, I know several from later classes, who, like me, attribute our professional and life successes largely to Dr. Pinkerton. His advice about very practical things about graduate school and living life have proved very valuable to me. I am now an endowed chair at a major university and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, Dr. Pinkerton, followed by Dr. Schaeffer and South are much of the reason why.

I'm not going to repeat the things Kirk wrote. They are all true. Growing up with a mom who felt cleanliness was next to Godliness, Jack, Janet, and Jenny's place was enlightening. The man would truly have skipped anything to help or teach an EE student.

As Dr. Carson has said, there is absolutely no way that Geneva can replace Dr. Pinkerton. He was truly a unique, selfless, giving man, who had a lot to give.

I wish his granddaughters well, but I am sure Janet, Jenny, and many others are glad to see him, and I know he is glad to be out of that chair!"

- Robert Moorhead (BSEE, 1980)


"My memories of Jack Pinkerton go back to when he was a student at Geneva and lived off campus in our family home. I was about 10 or 11 at the time and absolutely adored Jack: he was my hero. He played basketball and football with me in the back yard, teaching me moves I never knew, and had that great dry sense of humor others have referred to. Having him around was a rich experience. It doesn't surprise me he went on to bless so many students at Geneva."

- Ted Wilcox


"It is impossible to attempt any tribute on Doc's behalf without doing him injustice, but I will try:

For within the personal realms of human life, Doc was a virtuoso. He ensured that his good deeds and monstrous generosity were kept out of the public's eye. Doc, I ask your forgiveness as I raise the curtain ever so slightly on that other side of your life that you hid so well.

Like countless other former students who passed through Doc's careful hands and under his watchful eyes, I feel so profoundly grateful to a great man and consummate servant-leader.

Doc was my professor, mentor, supervisor, friend, church member, and brother-in-Christ. Doc blessed my family with his personal resources in those early days of my college years as a poor international student. He always wanted to know how he could help my family - and that continued until his heavenly homegoing.

I have lived in 5 nations on two continents and known countless saints and professionals. I am still waiting to see a more generous man, a more humble servant of God and mankind, a more self-effacing and self-deprecating soul among the living. He was toughened by the hands of circumstance yet tender in heart; he confronted and overcame some of life's challenges with class and the kind of fortitude that may be associated with the names of heroes; he ridiculed and scorned serious ailments and, at times, his own mortality. His boundless sense of humor was never constrained by any predicament; his strength strengthened us; and we became better by knowing him. Truly, I am who I am because of this great man. Doc, our debts to you are colossal. Rest in peace, Champ, rest in perfect peace!"

- Richard Morris (BSE, 1997)


"Dr. Pinkerton influenced me greatly as a student and later as a friend. His concern for students and people in general as noted by others was not limited to those who attended Geneva. Dr. Pinkerton and Janet deeply cared for and helped many outside of Geneva College. Dr. Pinkerton also influenced my own children as were growing up and as they attended Geneva. While we mourn his passing, we know that the love Dr. Pinkerton and Janet shared is now united eternally praising the God they both worshipped faithfully. We now pray that his grandchildren will grow up remembering the example he gave on a daily basis and the love Dr. Pinkerton had for them. God bless you and keep you close Dr. Pinkerton."

- Rich Goehring (BSEE, BS Comp Sci, 1982)


"Jack was my major advisor and role model between 1977 and 1980. I last talked to him in May 2007 and he was still as strong a leader as ever before. By this time, he had developed the Electrical Engineering programme to ABET standards, while still maintaining its Christ-centered mission. He was one of the living pillars of the Geneva College mission. His zeal for Christ and for service touched me even more in 2007, when he related to me all he had been through with a deeply cheerful spirit. There is no doubt in my mind that he is home with the Lord, given that he was so close to Him in his earthly walk. At least I had the chance to tell him that I am where I am in my career because of his solid teaching and leadership back during my college days."

- Mqhele E. Dlodlo (BSEE '80, BS Ind '83)


"My memories of Dr Pinkerton are many -- but here are a few...

Giving - he used to have us over to his house on occasion, what a blessing to see a leader / professor in their home setting.  And what a treat to have a home cooked meal.

The word crotchety comes to mind -- perhaps it was his arthritis -- I'm sure he had lots of pain -- but he could get in a mood -- but then he'd give you the sly grin -- nice dry sense of humor -- I loved it.

Caring -- always had time if you stopped by for a question, he was tough -- like in Networking class when he'd put in max and min values for our first programs and they'd fail right and left -- but fair. 

Student focused -- he was always coming up with ways to get us technical geeks some experience. I'm thinking of the Bureau of Mines -- which when I first heard him say it -- for 2 months -- I thought he was saying the Bureau of Minds -- and I thought -- the government is researching *everything* these days.   But what great experiences to work in real life environments / work situations.

Although I don't get back to Geneva often, when I did, I'd stop in to see Dr Pinkerton -- and he was always welcoming and interested.  My sincere condolences to family and friends.  Doc will be missed."

- Kirk Dietzman  (BSEE, 1981)


"I've always fondly remembered "Dr. P" as a good friend and mentor. As my own kids have gone on to college, I've told them about getting to know their professors as I got to know him. He was a true role model, and will be greatly missed.

God Speed, Dr. P..."

- Steve Johnson (BSEE, 1981)


"Back between 1956 and 1960, while a students at Geneva, Jack and I became close friends. In 1960 we even made a trip to Cuba together. (It’s a wonder we are not still there.) When I heard of his death yesterday, I suffered a deep loss, but rejoice that he is now with the Lord after much suffering here on this earth. My wife and I are remembering the Pinkerton family in prayer and pray that suitable arraignments might be made for Jack’s two granddaughters."

- Scott Boyle


"Dr. Pinkerton was a truly wonderful man. Even though I was not an engineering student, my interactions with Dr. Pinkerton were always wonderful. He was a very intelligent and caring professor and every student I knew who had him loved him. I will miss seeing him on campus.

As I was reading my Bible today and praying for his family I came across 1 Peter 5:10. "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."

For someone who went through so much in life I can only imagine how much he is rejoicing now in heaven. He is completely restored and pain free! Even though we mourn his loss, let us not forget to celebrate the fact that he is now fully restored and rejoicing in heaven. And also, let us thank God for the many wonderful ways in which he used Dr. Pinkerton while he was with us. Dr. Pinkerton lived out the mission of Geneva College and will always be remembered as a man who lived a selfless, Christ-centered life."

- Jenni Jones


"As one of the many students whose life was greatly influenced by Doctor Pinkerton's professional guidance and teachings; and by his everyday-example of Christian Leadership, ...words fail to describe the loss I feel in his passing. I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to all who know him and the works of his sincere faith that live on in those of us who were his students."

- Richard Evans (BSEE, 1995) 


"Jack served Geneva College for over four decades. Among his many, many accomplishments, he was largely responsible for shepherding the college through the information technology revolution. While we will, in time, appoint a new faculty member to his position, it will be impossible to replace "Doc." His dedication to the college, to his department and colleagues, and to his students is the stuff of legends.

And so we grieve. Not for Jack, who is now home with his Lord and Savior, but for ourselves and for his many loved ones who remain. May the peace of God be with us all."

- Ken Carson, Vice President for Academic Affairs 

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