Obituary taken from the Thomae-Garza Funeral Home website which is no longer available.
(December 1, 1917 – January 16, 2010)
S. Padre Island, Texas: Robert N. Pinkerton, a radio broadcasting pioneer in South Texas and co-founder and President of a chain of Spanish language radio stations along the Mexican border and in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, died of natural causes on Saturday afternoon at his home in South Padre Island.
His death was announced by his son, Robert N. Pinkerton, Jr., of South Padre Island.
Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60’s, Mr. Pinkerton headed the “Radio Gallito” chain of stations producing numerous innovations that highlighted media access for Hispanics along the border and in central Texas. The stations were highly successful commercial ventures and key advertising venues for national advertisers in New York and Chicago as well as in Mexico City, who wanted to reach Hispanic listeners in this area. Mr. Pinkerton’s radio stations provided for community connection and celebration on both the Mexican side of the border through weekly dance fests covered remotely at Radiolandia in Matamoros and on the American side of the border at Brownsville’s Jacob Brown Auditorium. His stations also produced annual remote broadcasts covering the Charro Days parades in Brownsville and other Valley civic activities of importance. Mr. Pinkerton, a polio survivor, broadcast very successful annual drives for the March of Dimes for at least a decade. He was extremely appreciative of the interventions of the March of Dimes for both adults and children during the polio epidemic in the Rio Grande Valley in the ‘50’s. He established his wife, Juana Maria as a radio personality with the highly popular weekly broadcast of “Gira Comercial de Juana Maria” and produced an equally popular Spanish language teen program “Miss Bebop” in San Antonio in the early 50’s.
He was born Robert Newton Pinkerton in Tacoma, Washington, the son of Roy David Pinkerton, a newspaper publisher and editor and Flora Hartman, the daughter of Charles Hartman, a Montana Supreme Court Judge and Ambassador to Ecuador. As a young man, Mr. Pinkerton got his start in radio through his involvement in remote radio broadcasts of the famous Swing era bands. He also traveled extensively throughout Latin America.
He married his wife in Laredo, Texas in 1942. They settled in Brownsville, Texas. With Jose Maria Gonzalez, his father-in-law, and E.B. Pool, a close friend, he established the first of the radio stations, XEO, in Matamoros, Tamps, Mexico in 1946. XEOR in Reynosa and XEMT in Matamoros were added in 1950. KUBO was added in San Antonio in 1955 and KTXN in Austin in 1956. Mr. Pinkerton retired from radio broadcasting in 1970.
Always an avid boatman, Mr. Pinkerton took up yachting during the ‘60’s in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean on the 72 ft Crescent and later on the 85 ft Te Ava Roa. He and his wife built a home on Ambergris Caye at Punto San Juan in Belize, living there for a number of years before returning to San Antonio, Texas. In 2003, they moved to South Padre Island, Texas.
Mr. Pinkerton is survived by a stepsister, Polly Martin of Ventura, California; his daughter, Sandra Pinkerton of Plano Texas and his son, Robert N. (Maria) Pinkerton, Jr. of South Padre Island, Texas; two grandchildren, Robert (Veronica) Pinkerton III and Bryan (Jennifer) Pinkerton; and seven, soon to be eight, great-grandchildren.
Private Memorial Services will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers memorial can be made in memory of Robert N. Pinkerton to S.P.I. Birding Center, 6801 Padre Blvd. S. Padre Island, TX 78597 or Sea Turtle Inc. P.O. Box 3987, S. Padre Island, TX 79597.
Words of comfort can be sent to the Pinkerton Family at http://www.thomaegarza.com
Funeral arrangements entrusted to the care of Thomae-Garza Funeral Home, 395 S. Sam Houston, San Benito, Texas 78586 (956) 399-1331
Thank you for reading.
J. R. Lowe
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