The city of Oxnard and the African-American community has lost another icon. Former Oxnard City Councilman and community activist Bedford Pinkard passed away on Friday, October 19. The loss leaves a large void of leadership within the local African-American community and condolences are offered to the Pinkard family in their time of mourning and grief.
Pinkard was born to Dee and Adelia Pinkard on October 9, 1930 in Jacksonville, Texas, but moved to Oxnard in 1940 and lived in the city for more than 70 years.
While attending Oxnard schools, he was active in sports, including football, basketball, and track. He graduated from Oxnard High School in 1950. In 1961 he began working for the Oxnard Parks and Recreation Department.
Pinkard was very active in Oxnard civic and sports activities. He helped found the La Colonia Youth Boxing Gym, the Ventura County Martin Luther King Jr. committee which coordinates the annual MLK march, and the Oxnard Multicultural Festival. The skate park across from Channel Islands High School is also named in his honor.
When he was elected to the Oxnard Union High School District Board in 1973, it made him the first African-American elected to office in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. In 1992, he was elected to the Oxnard City Council where he served for 12 years.
In addition, Pinkard was active on the CSUN Community Advisory Board, First 5 Committee of Ventura County, California Youth Authority Citizens Advisory Committee, Ventura County Harbor Commission, and the Oxnard Parks and Recreation Commission.
In 2004 he was named the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year and in 2011 he received the Legacy Award by the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame committee.
Pinkard also founded the Pinkard Youth Institute in order to develop leadership skills among the city’s young people. The organization sponsors educational workshops and other activities to develop young people’s awareness of and engagement in community service.
Pinkard is survived by his wife of 31 years, Irene, and his sons Derek (Oxnard) and Kevin (Carson).
Visitation will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, followed by a Celebration of Life ceremony to begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center. The Reverend Dr. Clyde Oden Jr. will be officiating. Interment with military honors will follow at Conejo Mountain Memorial Park in Camarillo.
Memorial contributions may be made in lieu of flowers to the Pinkard Youth Institute, PO Box 52211, Oxnard, CA 93031.