James Pinkston knew his time was short when he decided to close Pinkston Music in Gulfport earlier this year.
He died Wednesday, and a celebration of his life will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday at Riemann Family Funeral Home, 274 Beauvoir Road, Biloxi.
“Born and raised a Memphis musician,” he said, he was a bass player whose first gig was at age 11. He had some fame with his music, playing with Jerry Lee Lewis and touring across the country and in Mexico and Canada. He and his wife, Angie, were the house band at the Copa Casino.
But what Pinkston will be most remembered for in South Mississippi is owning the shop where band students leased saxophones and tubas for the school year, where kids strummed their first guitars and took their first lesson, and where professional musicians gathered to jam. He opened his first store in Gulfport in 1990 and grew it into the largest privately-owned guitar store in the state.
As a final encore, he told the Sun Herald and the community in March he would close the music shop at 2059 E. Pass Road in Gulfport and retire. He’d already faced health issues and although he was content to close the store, he planned to continue to rent band instruments.
“I really want time for me and my wife and my kids,” he said.
The music industry changed since he grew up listening to Van Morrison and Pink Floyd, and while dismayed by those changes and the demise of family music stores, he said, “I have no regrets.”
That’s the way his song ended.