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Gayle Norman Pinkney

June 6, 1934 – Feb. 11, 2011

Gayle Norman Pinkney


POSTED February 18, 2011 11:22 p.m.

Gayle Norman Pinkney of San Jose passed away unexpectedly at the age of 76 on Feb. 11, 2011 at Kaiser Permanente Hospital at Santa Teresa. 

Born in El Centro, he was the youngest of four children born to Silas and Ruby Pinkney. In 1946, the family moved to Turlock, where he attended Lowell Elementary and Turlock High School. In Turlock he played football and enjoyed swimming and diving. His love of water sports led him to the U.S. Navy where he was stationed in Guam. In Guam, he served on a tugboat, was a lifeguard, and played football on the base team.

After he was honorably discharged, Gayle returned to Turlock and attended Modesto Junior College, playing center on the football team. Upon graduating, he transferred to San Jose State University, returning home in the summers to manage the Hughson Pool and coach the swim team. At San Jose State he competed as a member of the dive team, taking second place in the 1 meter and fourth place in the 3 meter springboard events at the State College Championships.

His last semester of college brought him back to Turlock as a member of the first graduating class at Stanislaus State. He remained in Turlock for another two years as the recreation director for the City of Turlock. He then moved his growing family to San Jose where he again attended San Jose State, earning his teaching credential. He taught in the Alum Rock School District for the next 34 years, both at Cassell Elementary and Pala Middle Schools. During this time he also served as the head coach of the Eastside Swim Club until it combined with West Coast Aquatics. He remained friends with many of the swimmers and their parents from that time.

In retirement, he could be found at the Creekside Cabana Club where he served as a board member and part time swim coach when not teaching the kids in the neighborhood a few of his trademark dives.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Patricia; children, Leslie Schafer, Brian Pinkney and Michael Pinkney; his brother, Dale Pinkney (Lois) and sister, Virginia Ocken, both of Turlock; six grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and numerous friends whose lives he touched.

A memorial service was held. A scholarship fund has been established in Gayle’s memory; the family requests donations be made in his honor in lieu of flowers. Memorial gifts can be sent to Creekside Swim Team, Attn: Gayle Pinkney Scholarship, 5640 Scenic Meadow, San Jose, CA 95135.

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