Having someone to talk to is very important when you get old.
When Lorynn "Tootsie" Pinson talks about her late husband, Marvin J. Pinson '46, she is quick to describe him as a well-respected leader who was dedicated to education and helping others. She lights up when talking about what a loving and caring man he was and the special relationship that the two of them shared in their golden years.
"He had a set of values and standards that he did not veer from," Tootsie relayed. "And a large part of who he was had to do with his time at Clemson. He went to Clemson at the tender age of 16 years old, and his time there shaped and molded him into a caring, hard-working, and successful man."
Marvin enlisted in the US Army after college, served with distinction during the Korean War, and was chosen for Officer Candidate School, where he excelled in every class. Tootsie gave an example of his mentoring style of leadership as she relayed this story: "Marvin taught advanced map reading to Japanese soldiers during his time at Fort Benning. One day, one of his students lost his compass which would have been a huge source of embarrassment for the student if it couldn't be located. Marvin stayed with him until they miraculously managed to find the compass and save the soldier's reputation. He stayed in touch with the Japanese soldier over the years and even got to see him on a trip to Japan when he was working for Burlington Industries. The soldier had never forgotten the kindness that Marvin had shown him."
That servant-minded, mentoring leadership style guided Marvin through a successful career after the Army at Burlington, where he worked for 31 years, retiring in 1986. However, retirement did not slow Marvin down; in fact, after retirement, he was an instructor at Clemson and served on the College of Engineering Advisory Board at the University. He loved tutoring math students at local elementary and middle schools and did so for 18 years, while also working with Habitat for Humanity and serving in numerous leadership roles at the churches he attended throughout his adult life and on multiple charitable boards.
Tootsie and Marvin met late in life: she was 88 and he was 91 when they married. "We were two very happy people who enjoyed each other's company. We could sit on the sofa, holding hands, and the world had nothing else to offer us," Tootsie fondly recalls. The couple met as residents of Well Spring Retirement Community in Greensboro, North Carolina where Marvin had lived for 21 years. "I knew when I moved there and met him that he was one of the most special people I had ever met," she said. "After going on several dinner dates, I knew he was someone I wanted to share the rest of my life with. We were never apart after that until the day he died," Tootsie added.
Theirs is a love story for the ages, and Tootsie said they made the very most of every day spent together. "To be as old as we were and as happy as we were all the time was incredible. We laughed so much and just enjoyed the magic of each other's company," she said.
When asked what kind of advice she has for younger couples, Tootsie said: "It's the little things you do for each other that make a difference. Sure, it's important to be like-minded and share interests and values, but it's the day-in, day-out efforts to put the other person first that make for a happy marriage. In making those seemingly small gestures to make the other person happy, you discover that you will be happier, too."
Even as Marvin's health declined, they still had a wonderful life together, Tootsie said. "I spent every minute possible in his company and taking care of him and being with him was my great joy." Sadly, Marvin passed away in January of 2022. Tootsie said that the years with Marvin were some of the happiest of her life, and she cherishes those memories. "Marvin made me a better person and gave me a wonderful life after I moved to Wellspring," Tootsie said.
Tootsie said that Marvin was constantly recruiting promising students for Clemson, always encouraging them to look at what Clemson had to offer. "Marvin would encourage the high school students who worked at Wellspring to check out programs at his alma mater, and if staff members had children who were looking at colleges, you had better believe that he was telling them all about Clemson," she said.
Marvin had long supported Clemson through the establishment of an endowed scholarship and an endowed professorship, believing that education was the pathway to success. So, as Tootsie began to ponder how best to honor her late husband, she decided to make a significant commitment to further Clemson's efforts to give the best and brightest students an opportunity to work with professors who can inspire and challenge those young minds. This was Marvin's passion, Tootsie said, "and I know that this would please him very much."
"As a life-long learner, igniting the flame for others is what Marvin was all about," Tootsie said. "And ensuring that his legacy continues is my priority. In the end, it is what you do for others that matters most in life."
Please reach out to us as you consider how you, too, can help others and make a difference in the lives of our future students through a current or planned gift. Our website features useful online resources to guide your thought process. And if you desire more detailed information about general estate planning, please download our free Wills Guide ,which is available to help you navigate your thoughts and plans before visiting with your attorney. You are always welcome to contact us directly by emailing us at [email protected] or calling us at 864.656.0663. We thoroughly enjoy hearing from you!