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Henry Penner (Penny)

Henry Clark Penner (Penny)

Thursday, June 23rd, 1938 - Wednesday, November 4th, 2020
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Obituary

Henry Clark Penner (Penny) 6/23/1938 – 11/04/2020 passed away at age 82 after a brief illness, and an extraordinary, healthy, vibrant life. Born to the late Henry Van Buren Penner and Martha Lee Clark, Henry was the oldest of six children. He attended St. Xavier High School and University of Louisville’s Speed Scientific School. Henry was also in the United States Air Force and worked as a nuclear missile silo technician during the Cold War. Henry was a writer, inventor, loved small talk, and was always smiling.

Henry leaves behind a daughter, Maria Penner of Olathe, KS and 3 grandchildren Hannah Penner of Denver, CO, Eschem Rosenblatt of St. Louis, MO, and Ian Rosenblatt of Olathe, KS; 5 siblings, Theodore (Ted) J Penner (Joanie), Mary Ann Penner, Martha Penner Bleich, Nancy Penner Ault (Les), and James B Penner (Jackie); 10 nieces Beth, Christine, Amy, Andrea, Michelle, Julie, Barbara, Cynthia, Wendy, and Virginia; and 3 nephews, Les, Tom, and Jimmy, as well as 8 great-nieces Shania, Megan, Katie, Emma, Mary, Eloise, Charlotte, Emily, and 10 great-nephews Ethan, Alexander, Luke, Joey, Aiden, Colin, Sean, Jack, Andy, and Blake; 5 former step children, Judy Wagner Carr, Dale Wagner, Virginia Wagner Springer, Barbara Wagner Sakel, and Stan Wagner; and his former wife, Alberta Marking Wagner; and two very dear friends, Pam and Stan.

Long walks were Henry’s favorite activity, especially through the Highlands, always stopping to feed the ducks at Cave Hill Cemetery…until he would run out of bread and have to make a run for safety with hundreds of hungry fellows quacking at his heels. He thoroughly enjoyed science fiction movies on the big screen and always marveled at the special effects and how drastically they changed over his lifetime. Henry had actually dabbled at writing a science-fiction novel of his own, and could always be found in front of the TV on Sundays watching the latest Star Trek episode for inspiration.

He was a self-proclaimed food expert and never turned down the opportunity to lend his taste buds to a willing cook. Henry always made his host feel like the best chef because he always went back for seconds. Whenever someone got up to go to the kitchen, he would eagerly jump out of his seat to follow them, just to check out what was being made. One of Henry’s favorite places to dine with his daughter and grandkids was a local buffet. In fact, he took them there so often, it became known in his family as Grandpa Henry’s Buffet.

Henry had a passion for going fast, whether it was in a car, on a plane, or in a boat. He was not at all afraid of speed bumps because he loved driving an old Cadillac that “floated over roads like a huge marine vessel on the water.” It was the only time his three grandchildren in the back seat got to experience those epic zero gravity moments, followed by a harsh slam back into their bench seat just in time to ready themselves for the next flight. Henry had his pilot’s license and flew in and out of Bowman Field Airport in the 60s and 70s. He would take his step children flying from time to time. The children were always equipped with a little yellow Hefty bag, especially for those zero G moments.

In his younger years, he was a very dedicated milker of cows in the Fern Creek area, twice a day every day, before and after school. He became rather good at building model airplanes, and as a dad bravely and successfully tackled a 2-foot-long model of a space shuttle with his young daughter. One of Henry’s favorite past times was playing checkers and chess with his dad, and later with his grand-nephews. Since lawn and household chores were not his forte, he was very good at focusing on his best gift…his brain. In fact, his mom could holler at him from the first floor to get his behind downstairs and do his chores, but up in the third-floor attic space where he liked to hang out, he could never hear her because he was so deep in thought. He could, however, hear when she would open a bottle of cola and be down two flights of steps before she could throw the cap away. Up in the attic on Kenilworth Place, sometimes at night he would lay back on a pillow with his head slightly out the window and study the stars, hoping to see a flying saucer and perhaps one day meet a friendly extraterrestrial.

Henry loved watching UofL basketball with his dad and brothers when Denny Crum was coach. He would happily sip an ice cold Falls City Beer while making fun of his younger brother for taking the game way too seriously. He enjoyed dancing and especially disco music. His all-time favorite song was Ring My Bell by Anita Ward. From square dancing in a school gym, to dancing in a Miami Beach club, Henry knew how to bust a move. He also had a flair for unexpected fashion and would don mismatched clothes like a true designer.

Henry spent most of his working life as a phone technician in the Highlands and Buechel offices of South Central Bell. He was always willing to share a joke or pull a prank at the office, keeping his co-workers either on their toes or in tears with laughter. In addition to his humor, Henry was very well known for his brilliant philosophical approach to life which can be summed up with the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do.” Of course this didn’t always go over well, especially when he told his kids candy was bad for them, then picked them up from school with empty candy wrappers littering the seats of his car…busted!

In his later years, after retirement, Henry moved to Naples, Florida where he had wonderful friends, many of whom he met up at the corner McDonald’s where he would go have his daily coffee and visit with the other McRegulars. Visiting with friends and sharing life stories and theories, which always included a bit of banter, became one of his favorite pastimes. Henry moved from Kentucky to Florida for the warmth and sunshine, but most of all the ocean. His dream was to live on a boat and explore the open seas. He remained in Naples until November 4, when his spirit decided it was time to sail off into the sunset.

A memorial service is being planned for family and friends at a date and time to be determined in the Louisville, KY area. Henry was dearly loved and will be greatly missed.
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