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Oxford Student dies from cancer

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Alan Jack Pinnow, a senior at Oxford High School who loved and performed theater throughout his life, died at his home in Oxford on Sunday, April 15. He was 18.

Pinnow had been battling a cancerous brain tumor for the last nine months.

Born in Cleveland, Miss., Pinnow spent most of his life in Oxford. 

Cary Joe Davis, now a criminal justice junior at Ole Miss, met Pinnow when they were children in the Oxford Children’s Choir. In high school, they worked together on two theater productions: “Man of La Mancha” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Davis said knowing Pinnow’s silly personality had a special effect on watching his performances on stage.

“In ‘Man of La Mancha’ (his character) was in a gang, sort of,” Davis said. “He was this crazy, maniacal stereotype. He had a loud cackle. He was trying to be mean and serious, but you would just sit there and laugh because you’d know what kind of person Jack was.”

Pinnow’s father Peter teaches English at Oxford High School.

“I think that Jack thought it was cool that he went to the same high school where his dad worked,” Davis said. “That gave him more time to spend with his dad, more time to see him.”

John Davenport, Pinnow’s theater teacher at Oxford High School, spoke of Pinnow’s performance in the classroom.

“Jack was a great student,” Davenport said. “He was highly involved in the theater program here at OHS, and even though his absence has left a saddened, lasting impression, the memories that all of us share about our time with him will help keep his spirit alive.”

Lakyn Collier, an Oxford High School senior, said Pinnow was a talented guitarist and played other instruments, as well.

Collier said Pinnow’s other extracurricular activities included planking, Japanese video-game dominating and Pokémon catching.

“He knew everything there was to know about Pokémon, like what level they evolved at,” Collier said. “He had memorized the names of the different places and which ones could be found in each place.

“Jack was different than anyone I’ve ever met. He was himself. He hated the words ‘weird’ and ‘crazy,’ because they made things that were wonderful have negative connotations.”

Collier recounted one Halloween when Pinnow dressed up as Beaker from “The Muppet Show.”

“I spent forever spraying orange hair dye into his hair, and the whole time he was making choking noises,” Collier said.

“He was real in a way that most people are too scared to be.