Region III Quarterly

Volume 2 - No. 2

April, 1940


Superintendent Frank Pinkley suddenly passed away as the result of a heart attack in his Southwestern National Monuments headquarters in Casa Grande National Monument, Arizona, on February 14. Death occurred almost immediately after he had concluded the opening address in a three-day meeting he had called of the custodians who worked under his supervision in maintaining and operating twenty-seven-national monuments in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. He had said, in opening the meeting for which he had been planning for several years: "This is one of the red letter days in my life."

"The Boss", as he was known to his many intimates throughout the Southwest, was 58 years' of age. He had been in the service of the Federal Government for more than 35 years, originally in 1901, as Custodian of the Casa Grande Ruins when that area was administered by the General Land Office. Those were the days when he lived out in the open desert in a tent, carried a six-shooter, and rode to town in a buckboard wagon for his supplies. He interrupted his Government career to serve one term in the Arizona Legislature and later to operate an Indian trading post. When the National Park Service was organized in 1917, with jurisdiction Over historic and scientific areas, Mr. Pinkley was appointed Superintendent of the Southwestern National Monuments. He developed that organization into one of the most efficient of federal agencies.

He was an authority on the history of the Southwest and possessed a wide and sympathetic knowledge and understanding of the Indians. He pioneered in the development of many services for visitors to the monument areas and worked out practical and interesting plans for museums and exhibits. He was widely known for his writing, particularly his "Ruminations" contained in the monthly report distributed by his organization. To most of those who knew him, he was more than an individual-he was something of an institution.

Funeral services for Mr. Pinkley were held near the ruins in Casa Grande National Monument, and he was buried in the nearby town of Florence. Surviving him are his mother, Mrs. Nancy Graham Pinkley, of Casa Grande; a daughter, Miss Nancy Pinkley, of Tucson; and a son, Addison Pinkley, a student at the University of Arizona.

Frank Pinkley

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Date: 17-Nov-2005