Cover photo for Dr. Robert Ivan Pinney's Obituary
Dr. Robert Ivan Pinney Profile Photo

Dr. Robert Ivan Pinney

February 28, 1934 — September 27, 2023

Loranger, Louisiana

Dr. Robert Ivan Pinney


Dr. Robert Ivan Pinney

Born in Springfield, IL, February 28, 1934, to Chester A. and Elizabeth E. Pinney.

He was raised in central Illinois and spent two years in Chicago.  He was an excellent student and class president of his Riverton High School graduating class of 1952.

Bob joined the USAF out of high school and received basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas.  He was assigned to the 6983rd Radio Squadron, Mobile; served two years in Germany as Radio Operator/Radio Intercept Operator; awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Occupation Medal (Germany), and the Good Conduct Medal.  He also received Honor Airman in 1954.  He completed his military career at March AFB, California in 1956.

He graduated from the Univ. of IL, and Ohio Univ., attended Bringham Young Univ. and the Univ. of Wisconsin, where he received his Ph.D. in Geology in 1965.  He began his career as a micro-paleontologist for Exxon Oil Company, working there for 12 years.  Afterwards, he worked for 4 independent oil companies as an oil company executive/geologist during the remaining 15 years of his oil company career.

He married the first time at age 19 to Suzanne Richardson and fathered three sons, Wayne K. Pinney, John F. Pinney and William “Bill” David Pinney. Both Suzanne and John are now deceased.

On April 11, 1974, he married Vonna Gayle Boyd Williams and adopted her two children, Tracey Denise and Michael Vernon. 

In 1980-1982, while living in Lafayette, LA, he served as a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and as a Century Member of the Boy Scouts of America.  He was also active with Toastmasters International and served on the Administrative Boards of First United Methodist Church in Houston, TX, and First United Methodist Church in Lafayette, LA.

While working as Vice President of Geology and Geophysics for Graham Resources in Covington, LA, he also served as Adjunct Professor for Tulane University, teaching Freshman Geology.

After retiring from the oil business and feeling a call to the ministry, he attended Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO.  He was instrumental in forming the North Gate United Methodist Fellowship (now known as Tri-Lakes UMC) in Monument CO.  He served there as a Local Pastor for five years.  He also served as the Assistant Director of the Texas Christian Ashram for over 20 years. 

In Bob’s own words: “In my life, I’ve been a student, teacher, professor; farm worker, small-town kid, big city kid; civilian and military; athlete and spectator; layperson and preacher; scientist, religionist, evolutionist; parked cars, sold cars and owned 100 different automobiles; owned houses and sold houses; near atheist, agnostic, nominal Christian, very conservative Christian-and now so liberal I don’t fit well into any traditional category.  Label me, if you must, an anti-religion God/Jesus freak.”

Throughout his life and various careers, Bob was known for always being a gentleman. His kindness, generosity, and compassion, along with his love for animals and his phenomenal ability to memorize were to be envied.  At one time, he had memorized the entire Book of Mark from the Bible and recited it in its entirety on several occasions.  He was often heard to say he had 32 sweet teeth in his head because of his love for all things sweet.

Many can attest that he gave the best hugs!   His favorite greeting when someone came to visit he and Vonna in their home was, “Come in this house!” 

His parents, Chester A. Pinney and Elizabeth E. Pinney, preceded him in death, along with his son, John F. Pinney and granddaughter, Emily Ray Pinney.  He is survived by his precious wife of 49 years, Vonna Gayle Boyd Pinney of Loranger, LA; 3 sons, Wayne Keith and (Teresa) of Guilford, IN, William David and (Jan) of Springfield, IL, Michael Vernon and (Edie) of Loranger, LA, and one daughter, Tracey Denise St. John of Mandeville, LA; along with one brother, Philip S. Pinney and (Beverly) of Riverton, IL.  He leaves behind 12 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and many close cousins, including Denton and Mary Lou Florian of Spring, TX and sisters-in-law, Marjorie Dianne Sheffield of Pasadena, TX and Kelly Wells Boyd of Sugarland, TX; also two Godsons, Jacob and Tyler Walker and one Goddaughter, Kristin Watson Chaney.

Bob was surrounded by family and friends during the last weeks of his life.  Memories were shared, stories and jokes were told, laughter rang out and love overflowed.  He believed one should celebrate life at every opportunity.  He loved his family dearly, and attended all the family gatherings, school functions, children’s birthday parties, and dance and piano recitals whenever he was able.  His one great passion was automobiles.  No matter the year, make or model, he could tell you every small detail about a particular car. He always treasured the small moments in life, and he loved his home, wherever he and Vonna lived.

Family and friends are invited to attend the Celebration of Life Service at Harry McKneely & Son Funeral Home in Hammond, LA on Thursday, October 5th, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. with visitation beginning at 5:00 p.m. A Military Honors Graveside Service will be held at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Slidell, LA on Friday, October 6th, 2023 promptly at 10:00 a.m. 


It was Bob’s desire that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to either of the following organizations.

Interim Healthcare Hospice

2637 N Causeway Blvd.

Mandeville, LA 70471


The Texas Christian Ashram (Scholarship Fund)

Attention: Kevin Baker, 2402 Nilelake Court

Friendswood, TX 77546



Arrangements have been entrusted to Harry McKneely & Son Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees in memory of Dr. Robert Ivan Pinney, please visit our tree store.

Past Services


Thursday, October 5, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Harry McKneely & Son Funeral Home and Crematory-Hammond

2000 N Morrison Blvd, Hammond, LA 70401

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Starts at 7:00 pm (Central time)

Harry McKneely & Son Funeral Home and Crematory-Hammond

2000 N Morrison Blvd, Hammond, LA 70401

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Military Honors Graveside Service

Friday, October 6, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Southeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery

34888 Grantham College Dr, Slidell, LA 70460

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 531

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree

Send With Love

Send With Love