Wesley Merrill Penalver

Published 10:01 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BROWNWOOD, Texas — Wesley Merrill “John” Penalver died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, at his home. He was 86.

Mr. Penalver was born on July 22, 1926, in New Orleans to the late Oscar Wentworth “Jack” Penalver Sr. and the late Mary Ann Penalver Martin. He grew up in Vicksburg and attended Carr Central High School, graduating in 1944.

He was a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean Conflict, serving as an A&P mechanic on Guam and in the Philippines. After the war, he and his high school sweetheart, Mary Jane Martin of Vicksburg, were married and had four children, Diana, John, Jack and Tom.

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He worked in aerospace engineering for most of his life, as a machinist and tool designer. After becoming a Christian in 1955, he served as a lay-preacher and music director and also worked with rescue missions. In 1967, he became a Baptist missionary for a decade, serving primarily in Australia. Although he returned to work in engineering after his missionary service, he continued to preach and write and serve as needed in local churches in Texas.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 22 years, Mary Jane Martin; his brother, Oscar Wentworth “Jack” Penalver Jr. of Vicksburg; his sister, Mary Marjorie Hedrick of Vicksburg; and his wife of 38 years, Gaynelle Pierce Penalver.

He is survived by a daughter, Diana Mitchell of Hickory, N.C., and her husband, Thomas W. Mitchell; three sons, John Martin Penalver of Key West, Fla., and his wife, Meg, Jack Lee Penalver of Wake Forest, N.C., and his wife, Liliana, and Thomas Rodwell Penalver, of Whitesboro, Texas, and his wife, Mellissa; his grandchildren, Dwayne Mitchell, Andrew Mitchell, Nathan Penalver, Melody Penalver, David Penalver, Stephen Penalver, Jonathan Penalver, Adam Penalver and Jacob Penalver; his sister-in-law, Shirley Pierce Byars and her husband, Harry Byars, of Dallas; a niece, Michael Ann Zeh; and nephews, Adam Penalver and his wife, Jennifer, of Vicksburg and Cecil “Butch” Hedrick of California.

A graveside memorial service is at 2 p.m. Thursday at Eastlawn Memorial Park in Early, Texas, with Heartland Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

John will be missed by family and friends.

Condolences can be offered to the family at www.heartlandfuneralhome.net.