Howard Pinkley was Point Place's unofficial mayor for what seemed like decades. His leadership on business and recreation issues in the working-class, nautical community contributed more than did a lot of officials with fancy titles.
Mr. Pinkley, who died Saturday at age 85, sold flags from a shop on North Summit Street. Public officials who liked his no-nonsense style thought of him as Point Place's go-to guy on issues from sailing to environmental cleanup.
Mr. Pinkley was a longtime fixture in the Point Place Business Association, and founded its Point Place Days parade. He blended civic pride with entrepreneurship in his leadership of yacht clubs and the operation of his flag shop.
Co-founder of the Jolly Roger Sailing Club, Mr. Pinkley also led efforts to build a new senior center, firehouse, and stone walkway near Bay View Park. He helped create Northwest Ohio River Runners, a canoe, kayak, and rowing-shell group.
Mr. Pinkley's dream of having the Ottawa River dredged for recreational boating remains unfulfilled. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed a $47 million sediment-removal project along a 5 1/2-mile stretch of the Ottawa River west of Suder Avenue -- one of the Great Lakes region's biggest cleanups of a toxic hot spot.
Mr. Pinkley lobbied for decades to get the Ottawa dredged east of that site to the river's mouth in southeast Michigan, in an effort to maximize boating potential and improve property values. The City of Toledo once set aside $1.3 million for that goal, but couldn't raise enough other money.
Last year, a local boat landing was dedicated in Mr. Pinkley's name. He was an anchor of the area business community, but will be remembered just as much for being Point Place's ambassador.