By Sue Moore
John Pincumbe is the epitome of serving his village of Schoolcraft, said Virginia Mongreig, who has chosen him to be the grand marshal of the 4th of July parade in Schoolcraft.
“He has been selected for his service and dedication to Schoolcraft schools as a booster and all of the years of involvement with the athletes and students at SHS. He is the voice of the Eagles. He is a sheriff’s reserve officer and a member of the Masons,” she pointed out.
“I was shocked,” Pincumbe said when he was notified. “I haven’t done anything special.”
“That’s debatable,” said Mongreig.
Pincumbe’s first volunteer gig in Schoolcraft was in 1984, when he teamed up with Roy Davis and John Coates to build the high school track and football field. For six or seven years, he would go straight from work at Consumers Power Company to help Davis construct the track. Pincumbe had become the track announcer in 1980, using a bullhorn.
The track had no bleachers; spectators sat on the hillside. His daughter, Jane, was a senior in 1984 when Davis pledged that she would be able to run on her home track as a senior. She managed to set a state record in the 100-yard dash that year. “We worked most every night and on Wednesday I’d go to the middle school and call bingo for the Boosters,” Pincumbe said. “Roy might sneak out and go bowling.”
“Davis was a hard taskmaster. He would tell me what to do and how to do it as he was a construction foreman and had built lots of buildings and tracks. He had his own backhoe on this job and I was the only one he trusted to run it. He would yell at me ‘tongue-in-cheek’. I vowed I’d never again work for him, yet there we were every night,” Pincumbe said.
“For the homecoming football game in 1985, we erected the scoreboard the night before. The field was named after Roy Davis and I got to flip the coin against Marcellus in that game. Jack Tully had been the football announcer but he got stranded in St. Louis on a Friday night and called Loren Warfield, the superintendent, to say that I would have to do the announcing for him. That was fall of 1980 and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
1980 was another big year for the Masonic Temple in Schoolcraft Lodge 118. Pincumbe’s dad had bragged about being a Mason, so John asked about joining and worked his way in. ”I dearly loved it but now I’ve kind of faded into the woodwork.”
Pincumbe joined the Sheriff’s Reserve in 1994. He became a lieutenant, as executive officer the second in command, until January 2017.
Then the bottom fell out for Pincumbe when he and wife Linda were traveling in Pennsylvania and crashed into a dump truck at 75 miles per hour. “My wife and I were busted up so bad that we were in the hospital for nine months. It seemed like a lifetime. All the bones on my right side were broken, my right arm crushed.” His wife, Linda, suffered too and was diagnosed with a brain tumor in October 2016. She died February 5, 2017.
Pincumbe grew up in the Flint area and went to Michigan State University in 1962 for a year to play baseball. He decided college wasn’t for him and quit as a sophomore to get married and find a job with Consumers. That meant the couple moved around a lot, so after 20 years, he agreed with his three children, Jane, Greg and Dennis to stay put in Schoolcraft when Consumers wanted to move him once more.
He went to work for Fruitbelt Electric, which wanted him to become a manager. The job required a college degree. The company financed his education at the University of Nebraska by flying him out for weeks at a time. He ended up with a business degree.
Pincumbe has nine grandchildren and is mighty proud of each of them. They will be cheering him on as he rides in the parade in a shiny yellow corvette, compliments of Cole-Krum Chevrolet.