Napoleon Pinckney


Napoleon (“Nap”) Pinckney of Oak Bluffs died in his own bed on Saturday, November 13, 2010, slightly more than 1-1/2 months after his 90th birthday.

Born in St. Matthews, S. C. on September 24, 1920, to James and Earth Liu Pinckney, the family moved three years later, along with the new baby, David, to Pittsburgh and eventually to New York City. As a George Washington H.S. graduate, Nap went on to Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, on a basketball scholarship.

Midway through, Sgt. Pinckney left to spend four years in Europe as a Tech 4th Grade in the 1328th Engineer Construction Battalion, receiving an American Theater Service Ribbon, an European African Middle Eastern Service ribbon with a bronze star, a Good Conduct, and a WW-ll Victor Medal.

Back in the States, Nap finished at Morris Brown. Using the Gl Bill at Illinois University (Urbana-Champlain), and received his Masters in Bacteriology and Parasitology. Three years at Albany Medical College, followed, before funds ran out.

Nap came back to NYC to teach Microbiology at a private vocational school for laboratory technicians; here he met his wife-to-be, Lorraine (“Lorrie”), first his student and later his assistant who typed exams and helped set up practical exams. Nap & Lorrie finally tied the knot on May 19, 1963.

In 1965, Nap moved on to teach Microbiology, Parasitology, and Clinical Chemistry in the Biological Sciences Dept. at New York City Community College (CUNY). As Associate Professor, he also was made the Evening Administrator for the Department (again with Lorrie officially working as his assistant).

In August 1963, the newlyweds took their first vacation together on Martha’s Vineyard and fell in love with the Island. Moving from a midtown high-rise in NYC to Syosset, N.Y. in 1971, the Long Island home provided a poor substitute for the Vineyard. After five years of renting, the Pinckneys finally bought their land and put up their house, with long-range retirement plans in mind. Retired in 1970 from CUNY, Nap had to wait until Lorrie was accepted by the MVCS-VNS in 1996, when the final move was made.

Oil painting, blue fishing, tending the landscape (1-1/2 acres), putting up a rental at the end of the property, and finally illness, filled his remaining years.

Nap was predeceased by his parents, his brother, Dr. David Pinckney, and one of his nephews. Three nephews remain, living throughout the states. Nap is survived by Lorrie, his loving wife of 47 years.

A private service was held at the interment at the Oak Grove Cemetery, Oak Bluffs, on Nov. 17 with full military honors offered by the veterans of Martha’s Vineyard.

Memorial donations may be made to the Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. 399, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs.