BATH — Leon B. “Penn” Pennell, Jr., 90, of Bath, died July 18.
Pennell was born in Winnegance on June 19, 1922, the only child of Leon B., Sr. and Myra Merritt Pennell. He attended Bath schools and graduated from Morse High School in 1940. Following graduation, he worked for the New England Telephone Company for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Navy’s Naval Aviation Cadet Program.
He completed his flight training in 1944 at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., receiving his wings and an officer’s commission. On December 12, 1944, he sent the following telegram home to Bath: “Commissioned this morning, married this afternoon,” and thus began his 67-year-long marriage to Cora E. Durant of Bath.
Pennell served as a flight instructor in New Orleans and Norman, Okla. until his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1945. The couple returned to Maine and he resumed his employment with the telephone company, retiring in 1984 after 44 years of service.
Active in the Bath community, Pennell served on the Planning Board, the Telephone Pioneers and the Bath High School Alumni Association. He organized monthly luncheons for the Class of 1940. He was a member of the Bath Lodge of Elks, the American Legion, the National Rifle Association, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Ducks Unlimited, the Lower Kennebec Land Trust, Friends of Seguin and the Nature Conservancy.
Born with saltwater in his veins, Pennell had a great interest in the maritime history of the Bath area, and took pride in being part of the Pennellville lineage. He never met a chocolate bar or a chocolate lab he didn’t like. He carried dog treats in his pockets and a five-spot up his sleeve.
He is predeceased by his parents; his wife Cora, who passed away in December 2011; his daughter Lee Pennell; and his granddaughter Amanda Marco.
Surviving are daughter Joyce Marco and her husband, Gil; daughter Jan Morse and her companion, Bob Graves; daughter Lynne Atkinson; daughter Jeanne McNeill; his “honorary daughter” Sue Rodgers and her husband, Phil; grandchildren Joey and Jason Marco, Josh and Jack Harte, Jillian Atkinson, and Jake and Jacelyn McNeill; great-grandchildren Avery and Deirdre Harte, and Wyatt Marco; his cousin David Small, wife Jemry and son Dennison; countless cherished nieces, nephews and lifelong friends; and Rusty.
A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Church in Bath on Friday, July 27 at 1 pm. Afterward, Penn will be buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, and a reception will follow at the Kennebec Tavern.
In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions in Penn’s name may be made to the Bath High School Alumni Association or to the Nature Conservancy. Arrangements are by Desmond Funeral Homes. Condolences may be expressed at www.desmondfuneralhomes.com.
Leon B. Pennell, Jr.