Joseph Leigh Pinkston

Born in Princeton, NJ on July 16, 1958

Departed on June 4, 2014 and resided in Franklin, TN

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PINKSTON, Joseph Leigh – Age 55, passed away June 4, 2014. Preceded in death by wife, Heather Pinkston, and parents Tom and Kitty Pinkston. Survived by stepmother Rosemary Pinkston; siblings, Jim Pinkston, Tommy Pinkston, Ray (Carrie) Pinkston, and Mary (Pete) Pinkston; nieces and nephews, Katie Pinkston, Lily and Jack Pinkston; adopted family, Tim Thomas, Jeff Kiefer, and Steve Erikson; close friends, Tony & Suzanne Berens, John Justice, Kenny & Jessica Brown, Bill & Valerie Sutton, Mike & Rose McMullen, Selena Webb, Arthur Barnes, Dave Brown, Dale Allen and all his brothers and sisters in the United States Marine Corps.
Born in Princeton, NJ and raised in Nashville, he attended Father Ryan High School (1976) and St Henrys Catholic School, as well as several years at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Along with all things related to travel and the great outdoors, Leigh’s early interests included writing and photography. He biked across Europe with his 4x5 camera, studied photography in Hawaii, and he had several public photo displays in Nashville during the 1980s. He joined the US Marines in 1987, just months before his age eligibility for enlistment expired. At the ripe old age of 29 he was “grandpa” to his fellow recruits at Paris Island. Meritoriously promoted to Lance Corporal out of boot camp, he was assigned to Golf Battery 3/12 of the 1st Marines at Camp Pendleton, as communications specialist, ultimately rising to wire team chief for the battery. After several overseas floats, he was deployed to the Middle East during the Gulf War in 1990/91 where his unit saw action in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Leaving the Marines as Corporal after his enlistment expired in 1991 he returned to Nashville. True to his nature he dove into the next artistic endeavor to present itself, stone masonry. He worked with a master stonemason to learn his craft and is survived by numerous enduring works of art around West Nashville.
But Leigh’s heart was always upon the wind and his eyes were on the sky. His restless spirit took him to Norman, OK where he earned his pilot’s license and numerous flight certifications on his GI Bill. Determined to seek raw adventure he saved his money before embarking in his beat up little car across the US and Canada up the ALCAN to Alaska. Finding any work he could he launched his career as a bush pilot, initially as a flight instructor, then working various jobs hauling passengers and freight to remote airstrips, from the Aleutian Islands to Barrow in the Arctic Circle. In his spare time he loved fishing, hunting, hiking and the shooting sports; he savored every last morsel that life in wild places had to offer.
Then in 2010 on a visit to Nashville for the holidays he met the love of his life, Heather Mary Meyers. Both in their 50s and never married they fell head over heels in love and began a romance despite the odds and the miles that separated them. They married in 2011, and Leigh unflinchingly followed his heart back to Tennessee to start his next adventure. Though the time they had was cut tragically short, during that precious time they loved each other more fully than most couples who have a lifetime together.
Not only did Leigh live his dream but he touched the lives of the many family, friends, students and passengers that had the pleasure and the privilege to know him. His love of life was infectious, his adventurous spirit boundless and his sense of duty unflinching. Whether casting a delicate fly on a mountain stream in the Smokies, driving cross country to rescue a friend’s daughters from abuse, landing a Cessna light aircraft on an icy tree lined gravel runway in a 50 mile an hour crosswind or sharing a beer with friends, Leigh put his all into whatever he did. He found the best in all the people he met and tried to show us the simple beauty of life. He will be sorely missed.
The Life Celebration will be Saturday, June 7, 2014, at 11am, at West Harpeth Funeral Home. Interment will be Monday 10am at Middle TN Veterans Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday 5-7pm, and Saturday one hour prior to the service at WEST HARPETH FUNERAL HOME, 6962 Charlotte Pike; online guestbook www.westharpethfh.com 352-9400

3 Comments to Mr. Joseph Leigh Pinkston

  1. Father Ryan Alumni
    June 6, 2014 12:04 pm

    Condolences to the Family

  2. Richard Hutchison
    June 7, 2014 5:14 am

    I met Leigh in first grade back in 1964. I am still friends with those who came together back then and went through our elementary school years at Saint Henry School. I remember Leigh in Fourth Grade sitting in the row next to me. He would be drawing pictures of rocket ships and airplanes with aliens and intergalactic creatures that had to be destroyed. His talent in art amazed and amused me at that age. He ultimately won all of his games by taking his pencil and scratching out the entire “being” or mythological spaceship. How many times I saw papers that were covered with pencil lead covering the entire page and blotting out the picture underneath that he had drawn.
    The teachers would have to bring him back to earth and back to the classroom with a smart clap on the head with an eraser or the shrill snap of a ruler against one of the nun’s desks. Those were such fun and (mostly) innocent years of our lives. We didn’t know or realize that then…but as we all have gotten older hopefully we have grown wiser. Much wiser that we though our parents were, we had a lot of room to grown and learn and make friendships that would last over the last FIFTY YEARS. God bless all of you in Leigh’s family. I guess we all have been blessed to share our lives with Leigh in one way or another. I will remember his soul in my daily prayers and somehow I’ll try to remember in my heart that HEAVEN is the goal of our final destination after this earthly life. Rest well my friend until He raises all of us up on the last day.

  3. Lisa Morrison
    June 15, 2014 8:50 pm

    I just heard of Leigh’s passing today. It is with heartfelt sadness that I offer my condolences to Leigh’s family. I wish the last year could have been easier for him. The obituary was beautiful and Leigh did so much more than I ever knew. It has been a rough year for all of us as Leigh and Heather were taken away from us far too young. May you all treasure your memories and take care. Love Lisa Morrison and family

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