Jackson Gershom Pinkerton, born Oct. 20, 1926, known to many as “Paw-Paw Pinkerton” during his career as a nationally recognized storyteller, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 4 from natural causes while returning from a trip to Texas.
J.G. Pinkerton was a man of many talents and experiences, ranging from his childhood in West Texas, service with the Navy in the Pacific during World War II, a successful career in the international mining industry, and his rebirth in retirement as a storyteller.
Born in Turkey, Tex., his family moved when he was 10 to Junction, in the hill country of Texas. The unique texture of life there would always deeply influence him and his stories.
After graduation from the University of Texas in 1952, he joined Texas Gulf Sulphur Co., where he worked for 37 years, first in Newgulf, Tex. then later in Moab, and Perth, Australia, and finally at the corporate headquarters in the New York area.
After retiring from the business world, he found his true calling as a storyteller. Using stories from his childhood and from the Bible, he developed an extensive repertoire and list of accomplishments, including storytelling trips to Japan, Australia and Ireland. He was for several years a member of the board of NAPPS, the leading national organization for the preservation of storytelling, and was a leading figure in the development of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesboro, Tenn. In addition, he was a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival and the founder of Telebration, an international one-night storytelling event celebrated in many countries around the world.
J.G. regularly volunteered to speak at schools in the Stamford area and positively affected the lives of many with wit, wisdom and inspiration. He was a loving father and husband and a pillar of the Stamford Church of Christ, where he served as an elder for 32 years. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Joan, three children and seven grandchildren.
Whether camping in the red rock country of Utah, skiing in the Rockies, traveling the world, planning an event or just sitting by the fire telling a story, his deep caring for the individuals with whom he came in contact, his joy in hospitality with friends and family and those in need, and his love of God and church brought constant pleasure for those fortunate enough to know Paw-Paw.
Funeral services were held at the Church of Christ in Stamford, Conn. on Saturday, Nov. 8. Internment was in Junction, Tex. on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made either to Shiloh, Inc., P.O. Box 95, New York, NY 10028, or to the J.G. “PawPaw” Pinkerton Connecticut Storytelling Festival Scholarship Fund c/o of The Connecticut Storytelling Center, Connecticut College, CC Box 5295, 270 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT 06320. Checks should be made out to CT Storytelling Center and note in the memo line – PawPaw Scholarship Fund.