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Pina Lee Pyles: Portrait of a remarkable lady

She's the head of a great Adair County family. She's the mother of pharmacists, an organist, a best dressed woman. Her attitude gives her an edge up handling the rigors of dialysis

By Dr. Phil Aaron

Pina Pyles has been on dialysis for two years and three months. Three times a week she travels to Campbellsville where she is placed on a dialysis machine which cleanses the impurities, the poisons, in her blood and allows her to function, to live, for another three days.

She first was started on dialysis because her kidneys had been damaged by hypertension. She had treatments for four hours a day, three times a week. As she has improved she is now attached to the dialysis machine for only two hours and forty minutes three times a week.

While undergoing dialysis at the Davita Unit in Campbellsville, you meet the other dialysis patients and learn to know them, their problems and their families. A bond is formed with the other patients who are going through the same treatment as you are. Pina believes that dialysis is one of the hardest decisions in her life that has been made better because of her attitude. She does what she has to do in order to live. Dialysis means sacrifice.

There are now more medicines than ever in her life. She is on a special kidney diet. Pina has been pleased with the quality of nursing care and the physician care she has received in Campbellsville. "The nurses are very caring," she stated recently.

"They are very concerned about their patients." Some of her fellow dialysis patients could not tolerate dialysis, the drain it has on their bodies, but Pina has persisted and done well. She hopes to eventually get off dialysis. Dialysis time is very confining as well as being time consuming. She was able to take two trips while on dialysis, one to Branson, MO, and another to Cincinnati. Other than that her dialysis treatments keep her from traveling much.

She used to travel a lot, to New York City, Boston, Maine and has even taken three trips out west. "Wherever I traveled I always looked forward to coming home to Adair County," she stated. She accepts dialysis and is thankful it is there for her. Pina Lee says when you look around you can always see someone in worse health than you are.

For example, there is one lady who receives dialysis who doesn't have any kidney function at all. According to Pina Pyles, the secret for being successful in dialysis is attitude, attitude, attitude. After being on dialysis for two years, Pina fell and broke her pelvis and now walks with a cane.


Pina's father, O.L. Lawrence Rich, and mother, Ether Rich, lived at Pellyton where they farmed and her father was a singer. Her father was a music teacher and offered singing schools through area churches where he would instruct students seven nights in their churches teaching them to sing. Music has always been very important to the Pyles family.

Pina played the organ for 50 years at Trinity United Methodist Church. She played and organ since she was 12 years old. She finally retired when she became sick. Her husband, Rollin, can play the piano, harmonica, and guitar.

Her interest in music was passed along to her sons who formed a band well known throughout Central Kentucky, known as the Sterlings. Harry played the trumpet, Mark the organ, and Jerry the bass guitar. Bank of Columbia's Robert Flowers played with the Sterlings. He played the saxophone. Magistrate Tony Loy also played with them. They and Doug Breeding also sang together. All four of her children played with the Adair County Band and Pina attributes this to the success of the Sterlings.

She had seven brothers and six sisters and was the first girl, the third child. Being the first girl, she took care of the rest of her siblings. Of the 13 siblings, she now has nine living since four died. Pina's dad died at age 74, killed in a car wreck. Her mother died at age 66.

Mother of Pharmacists

Pina's four chidlren are all pharmacists, quite a record for one family. Jerry, the oldest, works in a pharmacy in Somerset. Harry works in Elizabethtown and Campbellsville. Sheila works at Nation's Pharmacy in Columbia, and Mark, who has worked out west and at Westlake Cumberland Hospital, is in semi-retirement now because he has undergone a liver transplant. All four attended pharmacy school at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where Sheila's son, Easton, is in school now.

Pina Lee Rich and Rolling Pyles have been married for 66 years. "They call me the 'poor little Rich girl', states Pina.

Rollin Pyles

Rollin Pyles is 90.

Rollin's oldest sister lived in New York where her husband worked for Hostess Cakes. Rollin worked there from 1936 to 1940 when America was getting close to War. He took two months off work and came home to Adair County when he met Pina while he was visiting home.

She first met him when he was driving a big gun metal grey Packard, a real chick magnet, around the square in Columbia. They were married during the War on June 6, 1942. Rollin's father, J.B. Famed and ran a saw mill. He was a lumber man and was in real estate. He bought a lot of land at auction and at one time owned three bulldozers.

During World War II, Rollin and his borthers, Kenneth and Finis (the Judge), operated their father's sawmill for three years. Of the 15 siblings, six are still alive. Nine are dead. his father died at age 89 and he has two elder sisters alive today. One is 92 and another is 94. Rolling has been very fortunate with health, having only mild hypertension.

During their marriage, Rollin and Pina lived in Cincinnati on three different occasions. When the chidren were small Rollin was an insurance agent there for a year. He later bought a Gulf station in Cincinnati and ran it for three years. Then he returned to Cincinnati and worked two and one-half years for the man who bought his Gulf station.

Rollin ran the Chevron station on Campbellsville Street from 1961 through 1970.

In March of 1970 he bought Jeffries Hardware. He proceeded to own Jeffries Hardware for 21 years and was quick to point out that a major part of his business was the wholesale electrical side.

In 1991, he sold Jeffries Hardware to Leon Lewis, who still owns and operates this business in Adair County. Pina's brother, Stanley Rich, still works at Jeffries after having started working ther in 1975.

Best dressed woman

Everyone who undergoes dialysis with Pina Lee or sees her out in public remarks that she is always attractively dressed as if she is going to church.

Ms. Pina states, "I have always loved pretty clothes." For 21 years she worked at Vaughn's Dress Shop with Louise Brock. Louise would take Pina to the dress market in Atlanta, Louisville, and Nashville. She loved to go and she loved clothes. Often she would take her pay in clothing.

In fact, Rollin states that she never seemed to bring any money home, only clothes, from her work at Vaughn's. Sheila Bryant, her daughter, takes after Pina and is always attractively well dressed--like Mother, like Daughter.

Pina and Rollin state that sometimes they feel like they are related to half of Adair County. Gone is the day when we see one spouse with 12 siblings and the other spouse with 14 siblings.

Pina states she used to have a flower and vegetable garden but stopped her gardening because she just didn't feel up to it.

Her hobby now is spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She has nine grandchildren, three step grandchildren, and seven great great grand children and they are expecting two more soon.

She states grandparenting is so much easier than parenting because the parents have the responsibility for the children so the grandparents can enjoy the children.

As Pina's health improves one of her goals is to resume driving herself to Campbellsville for dialysis. Up until now some of the family has taken her to dialysis and brought her home. She states that she feels she is now ready to resume driving to Campbellsville.

Pinia Lee Pyles is persistent in her efforts to achieve wellness. Such a remarkable lady and such a remarkable family!

This story was posted on 2008-06-02 17:14:57
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