Bob Pinkerton, 90, dies

Mar 1, 2023


Bob Pinkerton, a giant in the world of community newspapering and a pillar of his own community in Kimball, has died.

The former Western Nebraska Observer editor and publisher died Jan. 22 at the age of 90 in Anthem, Arizona, where he lived in retirement.

Mr. Pinkerton owned the Observer from 1962 to 1993, when he sold the Kimball paper to his daughter, Sherry. Under his direction, the Observer was a force in the glory days of print journalism, winning seven national newspaper awards and 71 state newspaper awards.

Top awards won under his stewardship adorn Observer office walls to this day. He was inducted into the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame in 2005.

Mr. Pinkerton remained connected with the Observer until the end as a subscriber. In his later years, he would call from Arizona to personally renew his subscription.

When Jim Orr arrived as publisher in 2018, Mr. Pinkerton reached out to welcome him "to the brotherhood" and they talked on the phone or emailed several times after that.

Mr. Pinkerton also wrote a letter supporting the nomination to induct longtime Observer sportswriter Tom Southard into the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame. Southard, who Mr. Pinkerton hired at the Observer, posthumously joined his former mentor in the hall in 2022.

Mr. Pinkerton was a hometown boy who made good.

He graduated from Kimball County High School and the University of Nebraska, was a second lieutenant in the Air Force, and belonged to a number of organizations and boards in Kimball.

His official obituary follows.

Robert John "Bob" Pinkerton passed away in Anthem, Arizona, on January 22, 2023, at the age of 90. Bob was born in Madison, Nebraska, on July 28, 1932, to John L. and Vesta (Cronin) Pinkerton. He and his family moved to Kimball, Nebraska, when Bob was an infant so his father could open a dental practice there. Bob graduated from Kimball County High School in 1950 and from the University of Nebraska in 1954, where he majored in journalism.

Bob married Carol Jean Patterson, a fellow University of Nebraska student, on July 24, 1954. Prior to college graduation, Bob received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, and he and Carol reported to duty at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, in the summer of 1954. Bob and Carol welcomed daughters Becky and Pam there. The family returned to Kimball after Bob's two-year stint in the Air Force, and Bob began his long career at The Western Nebraska Observer. Daughters Linda and Sherry were born in Kimball, leaving Bob surrounded by a household full of females.

Bob bought The Observer from Art Henrickson in 1962 and was the editor and publisher until he sold the paper to daughter Sherry in 1993. During his years as editor/publisher, the Observer won seven national newspaper association awards and 71 state newspaper association awards. In addition, his weekly column, On the Bobsled, won 15 state newspaper awards.

Bob received many newspaper honors and awards throughout his career, including his induction into the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame, his proudest professional accomplishment. He was a recipient of the Master Editor-Publisher award (the highest honor that can be bestowed upon members by the Nebraska Press Association). He served as a board member for the Nebraska Newspaper Association and as president of both the Western Nebraska District Press Association and the Nebraska Press Association.

Bob was a Jaycee, Kimball Chamber of Commerce member, Kimball Country Club board member, a member of the American Legion, a charter member of the Kimball Public Schools Foundation and a member of the school board. He served on the Kimball Hospital Foundation Board and on the University of Nebraska President's Advisory Council.

In his spare time, Bob loved to golf and enjoyed skiing, walking, traveling and tinkering in his garage. He was an avid Nebraska Cornhuskers fan. In later years, he split his time between Kimball and Anthem, Arizona, before making Arizona his permanent home in 2015. If you knew Bob, you knew that one of his greatest gifts was his sense of humor, and he enjoyed a good laugh until the end.

Bob is preceded in death by Carol, his wife of 62 years; his parents, and his sisters Evelyn "Peggy" Pinkerton and Donna Rae Pinkerton Worker. He is survived by his four daughters: Becky (Hoke) MacMillan of Anthem, Arizona; Pam (Fred) Mavroudis, of Anthem, Arizona; Linda Davis (partner Andy Fullmer), of Fulton, Missouri; and Sherry (Alex) Blanche, of Anthem, Arizona. He is survived by grandchildren Ryan and Chris Klemt, Brian Mavroudis, Tyler Davis, Whitney Davis Eastwood, Hilary Davis Bainbridge, Alison Davis Wheeler, Kim Davis Wyland and Alex Blanche. He is also survived by numerous great grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made in Bob's name to the Kimball Hospital Foundation, 505 S Burg Street, Kimball, NE, 69145, or online here.