Charles Pringle Jr. was brought back to life through the vivid memory sharing of family and friends last Thursday. Hundreds gathered outside Pringle’s childhood home for a ceremony to rename 161st Street in Springfield Gardens after the late attorney and Assembly district leader.
Pringle died in February 2006 after a long battle with cancer.
David Smalls, Pringle’s brother-in-law, said Pringle had many accomplishments, even though he only lived to the age of 32. He was an attorney, the 31st District Assembly leader and teen mentor.
“He had the heart and soul for people,” Smalls said last Thursday. “My best memory of him is he was always smiling. Always a gentleman. Always addressed you ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am.’ He had such high hopes for what he wanted,” adding that Pringle would be humbled by seeing his name emblazoned on a street corner.
Pringle, known as Alvin to friends, grew up at 140-49 161st St. and attended Jamaica High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and a law degree from the City University of New York. In 1999, he began working as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx, where he met his future wife, who was also a young attorney.
Shareema Pringle said she was drawn to Charles’ boundless energy and confidence, particularly the time a last-minute case was dropped on his desk and he eagerly accepted it.
“He was everything to me,” she said, explaining that he would offer insight into her cases. She truly missed him last June during her first trial since his death.
Friends recalled Pringle’s community service, including two foundations he started for students in Southeast Queens. One offered mentoring for high school seniors with college applications and the other, started with Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent, distributed books to schools and sponsored essay writing contests.
In 2004, he was elected to district leader of the 31st Assembly District and also served on the board of the Jamaica chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Tyquana Henderson, Pringle’s former campaign manager, remembered how he was determined to continue working, even in the final months of his life.
Lynette Velasco shares the same memory. Her brother, Larry, was one of Pringle’s final clients. Pringle was able to have him exonerated in a mistaken identity case related to a carjacking. She was impressed by his dedication to the case, despite his failing health.
“He came straight from the hospital to the court with his hospital bracelet still on,” she said. “He was paper thin.”
Shareema said it is fitting that her late husband will be immortalized on the street he grew up on and in the neighborhood that meant so much to him.
“My husband loved Queens,” she said. “It was part of our agreement when we got married to live in Queens.”