About George Tinsley, Sr.

Speaker, Advisor, and Coach Forged by a Lifetime of Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

FAITH, TENACITY, AND A WHITE-HOT DESIRE TO TURN OBSTACLES INTO OPPORTUNITIES

Image of George Tinsley dressed 1/2 in basketball singlet and 1/2 in business attire.

The story of George Tinsley, Sr.’s continued road to success is a true rags-to-riches tale.

From the poverty of being raised in west Louisville (abandoned by his single-mother at 7 months) to being a mediocre student to finding his gift as an athlete to get to college to discovering his academic prowess and leveraging both a professional athletic career and academic chops into a successful business and civic leadership career.

EARLY OBSTACLES

image of young boy playing basketbal

George Penebaker, later known as Tinsley, was born in 1946 and grew up in Smoketown, a neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother left him in the care of an elderly woman named Willie Tinsley when he was 7 months old. Willie Tinsley raised him in her small one-room home after his mother never returned.

When Tinsley was 13, Willie Tinsley passed away, and he was taken in by her son and daughter-in-law. Tinsley struggled with self-esteem and was an average student but excelled in athletics, playing basketball, football, and running track. Teachers and coaches took an interest in him and guided him due to his athletic skills, big smile, and great personality.

ATHLETIC SUCCESS

image of Kentucky Basketball Hall of Fame Award to George Tinsely.

Tinsley’s athletic skills and height helped him build relationships in his neighborhood and school. He was an average student but an above-average athlete and received several basketball and track scholarship offers when he graduated high school in 1965.

He accepted a basketball scholarship to Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he helped his team win the national championship in his freshman year.

The success brought him confidence and unexpected rewards, including opportunities to travel to Europe and Africa with his team to teach basketball and act as an ambassador.

ACADEMIC SUCCESS

Image of George Tinsley accepting an honorary degree.

Tinsley’s fourth year at Kentucky Wesleyan College was a turning point for him. He joined a fraternity, made the dean’s list, and started dating his future wife, Seretha.

He also became more involved in school and began to excel academically. During this time, he was formally adopted into the Tinsley family and also found his birth family.

These experiences, along with graduating from college, playing in the ABA, and marrying Seretha, were major life markers that shaped his future.

BUSINESS SUCCESS

image of George Tinsley receiving KFC award.

After his professional basketball career, Tinsley applied his leadership and organizational skills to building and leading two companies that operate over 60 restaurants in Florida and Kentucky. He has also received numerous honorary doctorates and has been inducted into several halls of fame for his athletic and business achievements.

Tinsley is a sought-after motivational speaker, coach, and consultant, and has been featured in local and national media. He resides in Winter Haven, Florida, with his wife and two adult children.

PERSONAL AND FAMILY SUCCESS

Image of George Tinsley with his wife, daughter, and son.

George Tinsley Sr. values family above all else.

He married his college sweetheart, Seretha, and together they have been married for over 38 years, raising their two adult children, Penni and George II. Tinsley strongly believes that the family that works together stays together and has included his children in his business operations since they were young.

The Tinsley’s started their restaurant business with a KFC franchise in Auburndale, Florida in 1984, which provided an opportunity for Penni and George II to learn the value of hard work and ethics and develop their entrepreneurial skills. Today, Penni and George II are part of the Tinsley Family Business and play significant roles of responsibility.

The Tinsleys have 22 godchildren, three of whom are involved in the family businesses, while the others have gone on to achieve success in their own endeavors. George and Seretha continue to diversify and develop their family businesses, which started with PenGeo, Inc., named after their children.

FAITH, TENACITY, AND A WHITE-HOT DESIRE TO TURN OBSTACLES INTO OPPORTUNITIES

The story of George Tinsley, Sr.’s continued road to success is a true rags-to-riches tale.

From the poverty of being raised in west Louisville (abandoned by his single-mother at 7 months) to being a mediocre student to finding his gift as an athlete to get to college to discovering his academic prowess and leveraging both a professional athletic career and academic chops into a successful business and civic leadership career.

image of young boy playing basketbal

EARLY OBSTACLES

George Penebaker, later known as Tinsley, was born in 1946 and grew up in Smoketown, a neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother left him in the care of an elderly woman named Willie Tinsley when he was 7 months old. Willie Tinsley raised him in her small one-room home after his mother never returned.

When Tinsley was 13, Willie Tinsley passed away, and he was taken in by her son and daughter-in-law. Tinsley struggled with self-esteem and was an average student but excelled in athletics, playing basketball, football, and running track. Teachers and coaches took an interest in him and guided him due to his athletic skills, big smile, and great personality.

ATHLETIC SUCCESS

Tinsley’s athletic skills and height helped him build relationships in his neighborhood and school. He was an average student but an above-average athlete and received several basketball and track scholarship offers when he graduated high school in 1965.

He accepted a basketball scholarship to Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he helped his team win the national championship in his freshman year.

The success brought him confidence and unexpected rewards, including opportunities to travel to Europe and Africa with his team to teach basketball and act as an ambassador.

Image of hall of fame award
Image of George Tinsley accepting an honorary degree.

ACADEMIC SUCCESS

Tinsley’s fourth year at Kentucky Wesleyan College was a turning point for him. He joined a fraternity, made the dean’s list, and started dating his future wife, Seretha.

He also became more involved in school and began to excel academically. During this time, he was formally adopted into the Tinsley family and also found his birth family.

These experiences, along with graduating from college, playing in the ABA, and marrying Seretha, were major life markers that shaped his future.

BUSINESS SUCCESS

After his professional basketball career, Tinsley applied his leadership and organizational skills to building and leading two companies that operate over 60 restaurants in Florida and Kentucky. He has also received numerous honorary doctorates and has been inducted into several halls of fame for his athletic and business achievements.

Tinsley is a sought-after motivational speaker, coach, and consultant, and has been featured in local and national media. He resides in Winter Haven, Florida, with his wife and two adult children.

image of George Tinsley receiving KFC award.

PERSONAL AND FAMILY SUCCESS

George Tinsley Sr. values family above all else.

He married his college sweetheart, Seretha, and together they have been married for over 38 years, raising their two adult children, Penni and George II. Tinsley strongly believes that the family that works together stays together and has included his children in his business operations since they were young.

The Tinsley’s started their restaurant business with a KFC franchise in Auburndale, Florida in 1984, which provided an opportunity for Penni and George II to learn the value of hard work and ethics and develop their entrepreneurial skills. Today, Penni and George II are part of the Tinsley Family Business and play significant roles of responsibility.

The Tinsleys have 22 godchildren, three of whom are involved in the family businesses, while the others have gone on to achieve success in their own endeavors. George and Seretha continue to diversify and develop their family businesses, which started with PenGeo, Inc., named after their children.

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