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DAVID. R. PENNER  Obituary pic


Born: May 16, 1924

Date of Passing: Apr 13, 2009

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DAVID. R. PENNER With great sorrow, the family announces the peaceful passing of David R. Penner at his home in Winnipeg on April 13, 2009, at the age of 84. David was born on May 16, 1924, in the small town of Chortitza, in the Ukraine, and came to Canada in 1926 with his family, father John, mother Helena, brothers, John, Jacob, Peter, and Ron, and sisters, Helen (Thiessen), Katherine (Epp), and Margaret (Adilman). The family ended up on a small farm near Langham, Saskatchewan, as very poor immigrants, just before the Great Depression struck. Dad had many memories of this time, from riding bareback on his horse well before sunrise looking for the cattle, to baseball games at the many sports days. Baseball was something he enjoyed all his life, even to his very last day. Education was inconsistent on the Prairies in the 1930s. Many children had to leave school to work on the farm, or work other jobs to help support their families. His parents wanted to be sure he had a good education. David worked very hard to overcome challenges and did very well, finishing his high school education as one of only two or three students in the area who did so. He went on to obtain his teacher's certificate, and then completed a Business course by correspondence, with an extension in accounting. His first job was with W.H. Briggs Chartered Accountants in Saskatoon. This was the first step in a career that he couldn't have even imagined. From Briggs, he continually sought new challenges, working several jobs, until winding up with Mannix Ltd. in Calgary in 1953. He met the love of his life, and married the receptionist of the Penner family Doctor, Jean Cavers in 1952. (Son Mark arrived in 1957, and daughter Tracy in 1959). His responsibilities grew from auditing and accounting to management responsibility, including labour relations for entire projects including roads, hospitals, and major dams in Western Canada and the U.S. David brought his family to Winnipeg to take a position with BACM Construction. Over the next 10 years, he grew within the company, and continued to expand his horizons. He was chosen President of the Manitoba Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association in 1971, Chairman of Manitoba Construction Council (1973), President of the Canadian Construction in 1975, and later, Chairman of the CCA. From BACM, to Genstar, to BG Chekko, he went even further to include even larger projects internationally. His travels took him to places like Amman, Jordan, Ghaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, to Argentina, Venezuela, and across Europe. He met with Arabian Princes, Kings, and Presidents. When he finally retired in the eighties, he bought a home in the Laurentians, and rebuilt his own deck the first year, and finally did a little travelling for pleasure. He toured Holland and Belgium on a bike. His plans changed in 1987 when his grandson Ben came to live with him. They moved back to Montreal, where Dad made sure that Ben had the benefit of education and many opportunities to engage in different sports. Later, as Ben grew older, they moved to Saskatoon, so they both could be closer to family. Dad came to Winnipeg, and moved in with son Mark, and spent the last eight years here, reconnecting with family. His priorities became baseball, barbeques, and grand and great-grandchildren. He was always available to the family for advice, or just conversation, and loved to hear about them. Jerik's Good Reading Award , Lana's special Pay attention to me wail, whenever Ben or Nichole called, Fenix's happy talking in the background when Leah called - all were special moments for him. David will be sadly and forever missed by his son Mark, daughter Tracy, grandchildren, Benjamin Koper (Nichole), and Leah Koper, great-grandchildren, Jerik, Lana, and Reese (Ben and Nichole) and Fenix (Leah), and Jordan, brother Ron (Marjorie) Penner, many nieces and nephews in the Saskatoon area, and close family friends, Grant Andrusky, Kirk Ginter, Nichole Paulson, and Kathy Bisson. Dad was predeceased by his parents John and Helen, brothers: John, Jacob and Peter, sisters, Helen, Katherine and Margaret, and twin brothers who died in infancy, Abraham and David. As he sat at his solitary desk in a small storefront office, in a small dusty prairie town in 1946, with his feet propped up on a box (of dynamite - and that's another story) under his desk, would he have imagined meeting with Kings and Queens, Presidents, and Prime Ministers? We all treasure his memories and stories, and honour his life and life lessons that he worked to teach us all. His hopes and dreams remain within us, and through us, he will remain forever. A Memorial Service will be held at Klassen Funeral Home at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 18, 2009. Viewing at 7:00 p.m., Friday, April 17, 2009 at Klassen Funeral Home. Arrangements entrusted to: KLASSEN FUNERAL HOME 1897 Henderson Hwy. - 338-0331 Send expressions of sympathy at

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Apr 16, 2009

Condolences & Memories (1 entries)

  • Hi Dad I just wanted to say I miss you and wish we could have talked more before you went home to the Lord. I want you to know that Ben and I are doing great now and our relationship is mending. We all miss you so much and mom but look forward to seeing you again in heaven. Love you dad. Tracy - Posted by: Tracy Koper{Buck} (Daughter) on: Feb 07, 2013

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