Just a few weeks after Sydney returned from Nova Scotia, his father, Henry, passed away. Given the current travel restrictions, we weren’t able to attend the funeral in person, but we were able to watch the service online. In the obituary, Sydney captured the extraordinary variety of Henry’s interests and the many people and places he had known in his life. Henry was deeply loved and he will be missed.
Henry D. Penner ~ age 74, of Berwick, N.S., went to his eternal rest on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. Henry was born on March 1, 1946, in Manitoba to Heinrich C. and Aganetha (Dueck) Penner, the second-youngest of nine children. In 1948, he moved with his family to Chihuahua, Mexico, and then in 1958 to what was British Honduras, now Belize, where he worked hard to help carve out a new settlement in the jungle. Despite having to battle the jungle for farmland, he loved the forest and its wildlife, and eventually built up an extraordinary butterfly collection. Henry married Dora Reimer on November 14, 1976. Together, with hard work and dedication, they set out to cultivate a family and homestead. He had a special enthusiasm for fruit trees, and soon assembled a diverse orchard of tropical fruits that included but went far beyond oranges and mangoes. Henry had struggled with ill health earlier in his life, but achieved better health through adopting a healthier lifestyle. He came to feel a calling to share what he had learned with others around him, including by starting a small health food store. He made numerous trips to the United States to buy products from wholesalers there, products which he would then drive back down through Mexico to sell in his store in Belize. Since he had long had misgivings about living in Belize, Henry and his family moved to Nova Scotia in the spring of 1986. The move came with hardships. He lamented the orchard he had to leave behind, and was grieved by the limited friendship opportunities for his family in the early years. Differing property values in Belize and Nova Scotia also entailed years of financial hardship. But Henry and Dora were both blessed with a capacity for hard work and determination, and a new farm took shape in Berwick. The farm even came to include some tropical fruit trees again, this time grown in the protection of a greenhouse. Eventually he also owned a health food store again, with the purchase of Rising Sun Natural Foods. Henry remained a fixture at the store until the last year of his life. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, brother, Walter D. Penner, and sisters, Elma (Abraham P.) Thiessen, Martha (Daniel D.) Plett, and Maria (Levi L.) Friesen. Henry is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Sydney and Erin Penner, and grandchildren, Katherine and Nathaniel, of Wilmore, KY; son and daughter-in-law, Nelson Penner and Kira Woolaver, and grandchildren, Allister and Everett, of Berwick, N.S.; brother, Arthur. The funeral service took place at 2:00 p.m., Monday, January 26, in Bethel Mennonite Church, Grafton. Director, Larry Kornelsen and Minister, Rev. Arthur Penner officiated. Interment was in Berwick Cemetery, Berwick. With gratitude the family would like to thank all who have expressed their condolences.