July 14, 1921 to March 24, 2020
Dave passed away peacefully at the Coronation Long Term Care Centre in Coronation, Alberta on the afternoon of March 24th at the age of 98 years.
Dave was one of ten children born to Andrew and Agnes Pennington at their farm south west of Veteran. His early years were spent going to school and helping around the farm. He and his brother Allan spent their free time riding and training horses. This eventually led to trying his luck at bronc riding in many rodeos throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana and especially riding in the Calgary Stampede, winning some, and getting his treasured buckle from Great Falls.
In July of 1943, Dave joined the Canadian Army. After boot camp in Grand Prairie and Calgary, he left Alberta as Private David Pennington of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, part of the First Canadian Infantry. Traveling by train, he headed east to meet the ship that would take him to England and then to the war in Europe.
Dave landed and joined the war effort in Sicily, fighting up through Italy. When one of Dave’s buddies died he would sing Hank Williams song “Beyond the Sunset”. Soon other soldiers began asking him to sing for them, also. On the day he was wounded he was acting as a dispatch runner, as he was very fast. He was hit by shrapnel and was blown into a ditch full of water. This could have been the end of his story but soldiers saw what happened and rushed to help him. Dave was transported to Rome and then to England for a very long convalescence. Dave always said that the ambulances today have not improved any from that long trek across country to Rome. Since the war he was able to visit England three more times.
Images of the war haunted him the rest of his life. In recent years, Dave began to share some of his experiences. He began speaking at the Veteran School for Remembrance Day Services, telling the students, staff and community his stories; some that were not easy to hear.
In 2013 Dave was greatly honoured when the Junior High Students of the Veteran School lobbied Veterans Affairs Canada to have his medals restored to him. Two Majors from CFB Wainwright presented Private First Class David Pennington with his new medals in a very special ceremony hosted by the school. This helped him see a different side of his service and made him so very proud.
After returning home from the war, he met Mary and they farmed together in the Hemaruka area and raised three children, Kathy, Viola and Robert.
In 2005, Dave connected with a daughter, Paulette from England, and she became part of his family.
Dave enjoyed farming, working with cattle and horses and whatever animals Mary brought home to raise. He readily participated in community events such as dances, potlucks, disking and curling bonspiels. He spent time at baseball and hockey when Robert was in school and then driving the grandchildren to many of their games and events. He was always willing to lend a hand to his neighbours.
It is very hard for die-hard farmers to move to town, but in the spring of 2006, Dave and Mary moved into a house in Coronation near the school. Dave enjoyed watching the young people going by on their way to classes. They found good friends and neighbours in Coronation and enjoyed many visits.
After Mary passed away in 2009, Dave continued to live in their house, doing his yard work and keeping up his daily activities. When he was no longer able to drive he got himself a scooter so he was able to make trips uptown when it became too far to walk, probably terrorizing everyone in his path.
In February, 2019 he entered the Coronation Hospital and then moved into Assisted Living. He soon warmed up to living there, often teasing and harassing the staff, playing Bingo, singing, dancing and especially yodeling. Dave had just moved to the Long Term Care on March 12th, where he passed away peacefully with his daughter, Vi, by his side.
Dave was predeceased by his wife Mary, his parents Andrew and Agnes, his sisters Ann Barros, Nancy Mulgrove, Lucy Healy, Doreen Thompson, Viola Pennington and by his brothers Fred, Allan and baby Arthur.
Dave is survived by his children, Paulette and Bob, Kathy and Ennis, Viola and Greg, and Robert and Leah, one brother, Ralph and sister-in-law, Jacque of Drumheller, nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, and many loving nephews and nieces and special friends so close they called him Granddad or Uncle Dave, too. Dave sure appreciated all his visitors over the years and was blessed by those who came to visit him in the hospital and Extended Care. A special thank you to his friend, Lincoln Glazier, who faithfully dropped by for visits.