Rodney Dwight Penner was born on Dec. 28, 1937, in Hillsboro to Erwin R. and Esther (Harms) Penner.
He grew up on the family farm and attended Durham grade school. Upon confession of faith, he was baptized and became a member of Johannestal Church, later becoming a member of Faith Mennonite Church. He graduated from Hesston Academy, Hesston, in 1956 and attended Bethel College.From September 1957 to September 1959, he served with the Pax Program of Mennonite Central Committee. He worked to repair schools and homes for war refugees in Germany and Austria. He also worked with UNESCO in Paris, France, and these experiences were foundational moments in his life.
On Dec. 19, 1959, he married Noreen Garber in Mt. Lake, Minn. They lived in Kansas City, Mo., until January 1961 when they moved to Newton.
He was employed in some phase of the construction business all his working life. He was active in Jaycees, Kiwanis Club, Harvey County Builders and CKMA. He enjoyed his family and friends, traveling, reading, flying and studying architecture, especially the works of Frank Lloyd Wright.
He is survived by his wife, Noreen, son Todd and wife Martha (Neufeld) Penner of Goshen, Ind., daughter Cara and husband Mike Treas of Kansas City, Mo., grandchildren Claire, Sydney and Josiah Penner of Goshen, Ind., Miranda and Andrew Treas of Kansas City, Missouri, sister and brother-in-law Pat and Nathan Widmer, Salem, Ore., sister-in-law Vernie Hartzler, Jackson, Minn., sister-in-law and brother-in-law Adel and Nabil Isbanioly of Richfield, N.C., and seven nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers-in-law Floyd Kauffman and Charlie Hartzler.
Visitation with the family will be from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Broadway Colonial Funeral Home in Newton with memorial services to follow at 2 p.m.
Memorials may be sent to Mennonite Central Committee or the Alzheimer’s Foundation.
Condolences may be left at www.broadwaycolonialfh.com.
Arrangements are by Broadway Colonial Funeral Home, Newton.