Lester Monroe Penninger, 80, passed from this life to the next on Thursday morning, December 8, 2011 in his home, with his family close by. Lester fought pancreatic cancer even until the very last moments, showing exactly how strong he was.
Lester was born on March 26, 1931 in Mt. Pleasant NC to the late Nellie Barnhardt Penninger and Banks Monroe Penninger.
Lester was a loving husband and father. He loved to read, fish, hunt and travel with his wife. They saw the entire United States in the mid-90's as they traveled the country with their travel trailer in tow. Every October, they loaded up for a month-long fishing trip to the Outer Banks. Traveling was in his blood. Lester also loved wood working. He handcrafted beautiful clocks, cabinets, shelves and many other pieces of furniture in his wood working shop. It wasn't unusual to hear five of his clocks chime in his living room simultaneously.
Lester worked for 30 years at the Cabarrus County School Bus Garage, starting as a mechanic and worked up to the position of shop foreman by the time he retired. After work, he was a farmer, growing the best tomatoes in Cabarrus County. He tended cattle, riding his tractors back to feed the cows with his dogs following close behind. A pack of cheese crackers were always in his pocket, with a Mt. Dew close by to wash them down. In his time off, he enjoyed spending time fishing at his lake house on Lake Tillery or relaxing under the large shade tree that sat on the bank.
Lester is survived by his loving wife, Jean Fisher Penninger, who he was happily married to for 62 years. The two of them had two children, Charles Lester Penninger, wife Robin Auman Penninger and Pamela Penninger Allman. Lester also has a nephew Jerry Lee Smith, who is loved like a son. From those two children, Lester and Jean have seven grandchildren: Amber Penninger Canaan, husband Michael Canaan, Ellen Cleary-Penninger, husband Brendon Cleary, Sarah Penninger Altman, husband Pete Altman III, Thomas Ray Penninger, Darrell Lee Allman, Hannah Grace Penninger and Brittany Ann Allman. Lester also has two great-grand children, Evan Gabriel Canaan and Lindia Alee Canaan. A third great-grand child is expected in April to Sarah and Pete Altman. Lester is survived by both of his children and all of his grandchildren and great-grand children.
In addition to his parents Lester was preceded in death by his sister, Elsie Irene Penninger Smith.
Visitation will be held at Gordon Funeral Home on Friday, December 9, 2011 from 6-8pm and the funeral will be on Saturday, December 10 at 2pm at Bethel Bear Creek United Church of Christ in Mt. Pleasant, NC, where he was a well loved and respected member for many years. He served on the consistory and then as trustee of church and church property.
Our thanks go out to Dr. Darren Brent Kelly, Dr. Thomas Steffens and Cabarrus County Hospice and Palliative Care.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Bethel Bear Creek Church UCC capital fund, or the American Cancer Society.