In Memoriam: Carole A. Pinkett

First Woman of Color to Serve at Diocesan Council 

Ms. Carole A. Pinkett, passed away on Friday, January 13, 2023, at the age of 87. Born on August 8, 1935, in New York, she was reared in Philadelphia and attended the historic African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, which no doubt contributed to her keen sense of advocacy for the rights of people of African descent in the church and in the larger society. 

Upon relocating to Texas, she joined, and has served as a long-time member of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Houston. At the parish level she was a member of Episcopal Church Women, Daughters of the King, Wednesday Bunch, and was active in parish leadership, including serving as a Worship Leader for the Jubilee Service, a Lay Eucharistic Minister, and as a previous member of the Vestry. To many she has served as elder saint, mentor, and godmother, and has been responsible for inviting several people to Sunday services, who have since become members. 

At the diocesan level, she has served under five bishops of the Diocese of Texas. She has been a delegate to Diocesan Council and served as a member of the Diocesan Executive Board, the Bishop Quin Foundation and the Board of Trustees of St. Vincent’s House, the Diocesan social service community center in Galveston. Also, she was a chair of the Commission on Black Ministry, and in this latter capacity, she oversaw the Diocese’s publication of a seminal work: a complete history of African American churches in the Diocese. Informally, she has been well- known as a spokesperson and advocate to the bishop for so many people. 

Carole was a co-founder of the Rev. John Dublin Epps Chapter of UBE, chartered in the Diocese of Texas in 1984, and has served as its president on more than one occasion. In this capacity she served as a significant leader in the Diocese for the mission of UBE to lift lay and clergy leaders of the African American community, to teach and mentor African American youth, and to advocate for the rights of people of color at all levels of the Church. Whenever a project emerged or an opportunity presented itself for this work, one of the first names the Diocese would call was Carole’s. In 2007, when the Diocese of Texas opened its doors to host the UBE Annual Business Meeting and Conference, Carole was called upon to serve as chair of what turned out to be one of the most successful UBE annual conferences in history. 

After attending the UBE annual conference in 2014, a year in which the national Church, UBE and all African Americans struggled with the non-judicial execution of Michael Brown, an African American youth in Ferguson, Missouri, Carole was inspired to host a program of discussion and discernment. Under her leadership, the newly elected national president of UBE was invited to preach at the St. James’ Houston Sunday services, and to headline a panel discussion aimed at bringing hope and guidance to the youth of our church. 

In her professional life Carole held many positions involving human resources, employee rights and benefits, and broke through the glass ceilings for both women and African Americans. She was the first African American executive at Exxon, and the first African American director of human resources at the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro). She also worked for South Texas Project Electric Generating Station in Matagorda County and was founder and chief executive of her own consulting firm: Stellar Consulting. She later served on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro). 

Carole was a proud, long-time member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., to which she pledged at North Carolina A&T University and has served in leadership positions in the Omega Chapter in the Greater Houston area. As such, she has combined her love of service, her professional acumen and her leadership abilities to lead several community service projects in the Houston area, and beyond. 

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