Once in a while I have the sad job of writing about a friend who has died. Today, I want to tell you about my friend Deacon Frank Pinkney, a true gentleman and the husband of my mentor and friend, Dr. Enid Pinkney. Frank, 84, died July 20 after a long illness.
I first met Frank when I was 14 and he was courting the older sister of one of my friends, whom he later married. Frank was always like an older brother to me, and like my brother, Adam, he had a quiet, gentle spirit. He was a man who really cared about others, and in the words of Enid, “who bore his physical issues with pride and dignity.”
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Frank was also a natural teacher. When I bought my first car, I didn’t even have a driver license. It was near the end of my vacation and I needed my license so I could drive myself back and forth to work at the Miami Herald, where at the time I was a file clerk.
The first thing Frank had to teach me was that my new car wouldn’t move without gas. That lesson came on the day after my pastor and godfather, Bishop Walter H. Richardson, had gone with me to select the car. They forgot to tell me that the car dealer had only put enough gas in the car for me to drive home. At the time, I had only a driver’s learning permit. When a friend backed out on driving me to get my license, I ignorantly drove myself (that’s another story).
On that day, I tried to start the car and it wouldn’t do anything. I was so distraught, thinking that I’d been sold a lemon. I went to Frank, who at the time, lived across the street with his mother, and told him my story. He came out, tried to start the car and immediately knew that I was out of gas. After getting gas for the car, Frank asked me who taught me to drive. I told him that I needed help in that department. He volunteered to teach me.
Frank was an excellent teacher. He knew how nervous I was and he had a lot of patience with me. He was brave, too, because during my first lesson with him, Frank had me drive Interstate 95 at the height of afternoon traffic. “You can do this,” he said gently. “Don’t be afraid.”
And I did it. However, I was so scared that when I was back in front of my house, I looked at the palm of my hands and they were wet with sweat. But I was never afraid to drive I-95 again.
Frank was also a noted historian, who, according to his wife, was sought as a consultant on local history by writers and authors like Joann Biondi, who wrote “A Nostalgic Chronicle of Days Gone By, Miami Beach Memories” and Katja Esson, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker who sought information on Liberty City.
Born in Overtown on Dec. 1, 1933, Frank grew up in church, and at an early age, he accepted the Lord as his Savior at Israel Bethel Primitive Baptist Church, where he sang in the junior choir along with renowned rhythm and blues singer Sam Moore.
Frank had been divorced from his first wife for many years when he met Enid at the wake of one of her deceased friends.
“He asked me for my phone number,” Enid said. “Normally, I would give guys I didn’t know a false number. But I gave Frank my real number. I guess it was because he didn’t write it down and I thought he wouldn’t remember. To my surprise, he called me a couple of days later.” They were married in 1991.
”He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He loved his family, his church and his community,” Enid said.
At the time of his passing, Frank was a member of the Church of the Open Door, Congregational United Church of Christ, where he served as a deacon and was known for his inspirational prayers and his sense of humor. Frank was also a “prayer warrior” and was a member of the Prayer Band at Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
At his own church, Frank was a member of the Men’s Fellowship. He was also president of The Tree of Knowledge, a community organization of men who grew up in Liberty City and enjoyed fellowship underneath a big tree at Northwest 18th Avenue and 67th Street.
Frank is to be laid to rest on Saturday, July 28. In addition to his wife and his children, Frank will be lovingly missed by his seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and many other relatives and friends.
The Universal Truth Center for Better Living at 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens invites the community to hear a message by Minister Laura Bonito, entitled “Already Answered,” as a part of the lesson series “Got Prayer?”
Sunday worship starts at 9:50 a.m. The Rev. Charles Taylor is the senior minister.
You are invited to Bible study at The Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness), taught at 8 p.m. each Tuesday by the Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson.
Richardson is an internationally known preacher who is gifted in opening the mysteries of the Word of God, and explaining it in laymen’s terms. The church is at 1351 NW 67th St. in Liberty City. There is no admission charge. Bishop Walter H. Richardson is pastor of the church.