Doc Pinney, 61

Robert Lee ‘Doc’ Pinney, 61, of Sturgis, passed away Tuesday morning April 19, 2011, at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

He was born Sept. 22, 1949, in Quonset Point, R.I., a son of Robert Lee and Bertie Lou (Jordan) Pinney.

Bob’s early life was spent in Sturgis, and he was a graduate of Sturgis High School with the class of 1967. Bob continued his education at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan., and his master’s degree at Charleston Southern University in Charleston, S.C. He had also lived in South Carolina and for many years in Kentucky, returning to Sturgis in October 2010.

On Sept. 4, 1982, he married JoAnn Little in Frankfort, Kentucky. She died Sept. 19, 1997.

He retired from American Woodmark in Monticello, Ky., following 13 years of dedicated employment as director of human resources. He had also been employed by Kentucky Tie and Lumber Company in Columbia, Ky., and in the security department, and held a football coaching position at Charleston Southern University in Charleston, S.C., and for several years he had been involved in the food service industry.

Bob was always very active and willing to volunteer his time and talents to each of the communities in which had resided. While living in Kentucky, he was bestowed the highest honor of a Kentucky resident when he was named a Kentucky Colonel. Commissions for Kentucky Colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation.

Some of his other involvements included the Chamber of Commerce in Monticello, where he was a past director and he was instrumental in forming the Columbia Habitat for Humanity in Columbia. Following the devastation of Hurricane Hugo, he was honored for the exceptional volunteer efforts he gave to the community and he was a member of First Baptist Church in Sturgis. Bob was an avid fan of the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

He is survived by his mother, Bertie Lou Nelson of Sturgis; a sister, Lori (John) Day of Sturgis; two brothers, Curt (Romaine) Nelson of Sturgis and Douglas (Lori) Nelson of Eldorado Hills, Calif.; four nieces, Amy Shank, Lindsey Nelson, Chelsea Day and Haley Nelson; a nephew, John Day; two uncles, George (Tandra) Jordan of Sturgis and John Pinney, both of Sturgis; three aunts, Lenore McElhenie and June Bunnell, both of Sturgis, and Mary Burkhead of LaGrange, Ind.; stepsons Jack Tucker and Donald Tucker; grandchildren and special friends, Mark and Suzanne Denomme of Lexington, Ky., and Tom and Jeanette Ingels of Monticello, Ky., and several cousins.

He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Pinney, and stepfather, Cleon “Bud” Nelson; a stepdaughter, Emma; a nephew, Kiel Day and an aunt, Arlene Burkhead.

The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Hackman Family Funeral Homes — Rosenberg Chapel, 807 E. Chicago Road, Sturgis. A funeral service celebrating the life of Robert Lee Pinney will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. The Rev. James Bender of First Baptist Church in Sturgis will officiate. A graveside committal will follow the service at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis.

The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mr. Pinney’s memory consider the First Baptist Church 28090 Fawn River Road, Sturgis, MI 49091 or the charity of one’s choice.

His obituary is also at, where personal messages of support may be left for the family.

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