For a few minutes backstage on that day in April he talked about enthusiasm inside BMW again, creative campaigns he couldn't wait to unveil and, yes, the hate mail he was receiving from BMW enthusiasts because of the decision to emphasize the "Joy" campaign.
"We are not ending 'The Ultimate Driving Machine' idea," Pitney said. "I just don't know how to convince people of this."
A night earlier I was seated in the back of a new BMW ActiveHybrid 7 series as Jack and I rode to a BMW dinner near Central Park hosted by a TV chef I'd never heard of. Turns out it was Thomas Keller, the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three-star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants.
"Did you hear who the chef is tonight?" he asked me. "I think we're actually going to meet Thomas Keller."
His face was lit; his emotions high.
Jack was coming from a TV interview at the headquarters of Advertising Age, our sister publication, and lamented the fact that he didn't spend more time with his five children. The work was gratifying yet unending. But, of course, he was all smiles.
BMW had a bright future with 19 new models on the horizon and a path that couldn't have looked better.
Talk was that Pitney was even considered a candidate to one day become head of BMW of North America.
When asked by Automotive News in July if he was being groomed for the CEO job, Pitney laughed and said: "We all rotate on a regular basis. You could argue everyone is being groomed for anything."
Last week, an accident while he was vacationing on his farm ended things too quickly -- a tragic end to a life that was full of life.
Russell Stover, general manager of BMW of Nashville and Mini of Nashville told us last week that Pitney "brought calm and stability" in the brand's response to the recession.
"We didn't panic, and I think we should be thankful Jack was in there" during that time, Stover said.
I'll always go back to that moment, standing backstage in New York City next to that Jack smile.
As he prepared to saddle that superbike, Pitney was like a boy with his first BMX. He strapped on his leather jacket and got ready to make his entrance.
"I'm gonna tell 'em that any time you get to ride a motorcycle into an auto show," Pitney said, "it's a really good day."
And he roared away.