Alan Mackenzie

Jack Pingel was one of my best friends in college and a lifelong friend after that. Jack was in my wedding in 1962, along with Laurie Osborn, Doug Dorner and Mike Laux. In 1965, after completing business school, we both ended up in Westchester County, NY, where we continued to see quite a bit of each other and our families.

In 1979, while Jack was going through a divorce, he stayed with me in Irvington, NY, for six months. We had a grand time although he played Oscar to my Felix.

Jack spent most of his career with PepsiCo, where he was considered one of the company’s top marketing executives. He moved up rapidly through the corporate ranks and attained the title of Executive Vice President of Marketing. On Christmas Eve, 1981, Jack spent the evening with me and my sons. We had a great time and Jack was in fine spirits. About a week later, I received a call from Jack from a local hospital. Apparently on Christmas Day his heart began to go haywire. Fortunately, his son, Spence, was there and called the paramedics who proceeded to give him electric shock treatment to slow down his heartbeat.

Although Jack recovered from this bout with a weak heart, he was moved to Dallas as President of Pepsi Foods International, which wasn’t quite as strenuous as life at PepsiCo headquarters in Purchase N.Y. In the spring of 1985, Jack married his second wife, Darya, and I went to Dallas to attend the wedding. As the years went by Jack’s health continued to deteriorate and he finally had to take early retirement from PepsiCo. The last time I saw Jack was in August 1994 when he and Darya visited me at my beach house in Westport, CT. The following May, Jack died in Dallas. Again, I went there, this time to attend Jack’s funeral, which was also attended by Alan Bernstein and Bill Strong. Jack had three children, Spence, Heidi and Robert.

Jack was a tremendous guy and a great friend. I am sure that had it not been for his health, Jack would have become Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. He was certainly an illustrious member of the Class of 1963 and he continues to occupy an honored place in my memory and in my heart.