A gray, rainy morning might have spelled gloom for a funeral procession, but not at Dale Pinkerton's funeral, where attendants Friday morning brightened up the dreary day with colorful clothing and cheerful remembrances.
The 79-year-old beloved businessman and retired county commissioner died Jan. 19 at his home after a battle with cancer.
More than 100 people attended the funeral, where they were invited to say a few words about Pinkerton's life and the mark he left on them.
Escorted by Butler County Sheriff Michael Slupe, the funeral procession made its way from Young Funeral Home to the First United Methodist Church on East North Street around 10 a.m.
Pinkerton's pallbearers clutched the former commissioner's casket and brought it inside the church, where the Rev. David Janz led the funeral service.
“In the midst of pain, we can find comfort,” Janz said and quoted from the Book of Psalms. “Let us spend some time remembering this fantastic guy, Dale Pinkerton.”
Janz recalled the first time he met Pinkerton 18 months ago wearing a colorful coat in the church.
“I thought it was the most audacious thing I've ever seen. Then, next week, another one — and then another one the week after that,” Janz said. “I will remember him, in the words of Paul writing at the end of his life in prison, 'I have fought the good fight. I have kept the faith.' I will remember Dale that way.”
Janz said that Pinkerton requested a poem be read at his funeral. Erich Gumto, a friend of Pinkerton's, was invited to recite “The Station” by Robert Hastings, in which the writer advises the reader to appreciate the journey, rather than the destination, and to “laugh more and cry less.”
Janz then invited others to speak. Pinkerton's grandson, Reid Lentz, described the past few days as a “pretty wild week” with the “highest of the highs and lowest of the lows.”
“What do I say about the man who taught me everything?” Lentz said, explaining Pinkerton taught him to “always have fun and never take yourself too seriously.”
Lentz said Pinkerton's death “left a big hole in the community. Butler is a greater community because of Dale and Grandma.”
Pinkerton's oldest daughter, Lori Foust, dressed all in white, called her dad “a fine example of love” and said the family was going to miss him.
“These are just a few stories of the hundreds of stories that could be told of his life,” Janz said as he passed a microphone around to the crowd for anyone who wished to share their thoughts.
Following comments from the crowd, the Rev. Dr. William Jackson offered a homily honoring his longtime friend.
“Cancer is terrifying,” Jackson said. “It's a tyrant. Those of us who are believers need to go beyond that moment.”
Jackson recalled Pinkerton moving to Butler in 1980.
“He had a vision — buy a store in Butler,” he said. “He had energy. He was always in high gear. He was indefatigable. He just went full speed.”
Jackson said that above anything else, Pinkerton had a “servant's heart.”
“He could inspire a whole county,” Jackson said. “(Pinkerton and his wife Millie) came and adopted a whole town when they moved here. They adopted a whole people.”