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Charles's Story

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Charles Pennell, longtime resident of the town of Danvers, beloved husband of 57 years to the late Helen P. (Doig) Pennell, died peacefully on July 11, 2017, one month before his 99th birthday.
Born in East Boston, he was the son of the late John C. and Adeline E. (Haskell) Pennell. Raised and educated in East Boston, he graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1935 from East Boston High School. From 1935 to 1939 he worked alongside his father at Maverick Mills of East Boston. While working days at the mill, he continued his education at M.I.T.’s Lowell Institute, where he earned his degree in mechanical and electrical engineering. He was then accepted into the General Electric apprenticeship program (1939-1942), taking leave to serve his country during World War II as a member of the United States Army, achieving the rank of Captain.
Following his service in the army (1942-1946), he returned to General Electric, where worked in the Aircraft and Turbine Planning Division for 32 years, until his retirement in 1979. He was a steadfast and dedicated professional known for his attention to detail.
Despite not being blessed with children of their own, Charlie and his wife Helen were immensely influential in the lives of scores of children of family members and eventually their children.
Anticipating retirement, Charlie joined the North Shore Flying Club, earning his pilot’s license - a lifelong dream. He served as treasurer of the Club for many years. After 25 years of flying, Charlie hung up his wings at the age of 81.
Avid swimmers, Charlie and his wife Helen were honored by the Danvers YMCA for their active membership of over 60 years.
Charlie was also a dedicated communicant of St. Richard Parish in Danvers.
Throughout his life, Charlie was intensely interested and engaged in his family, his community and what was happening in the world.
Charlie is survived by his sister, Rita Austin of Pompeno Beach, Fla. and his many loving relatives. In addition to his wife Helen, Charlie was predeceased by his brother, Clayton Pennell and his nephew Scott McCloy.
His funeral Mass will be held in St. Richard Church, Forest St., Danvers, Saturday, July 15th at 9 a.m. Relatives and friends invited. Burial in Wadsworth Cemetery, Danvers. Visiting hours in the Peterson-O’Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St., (Rte. 62) Danvers, Friday, July 14th from 4 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Charles memory to the YMCA, 34 Pickering St., Danvers, MA 01923 or to the charity of one’s choice. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit www.odonnellfuneralservice.com.
Published on  July 13, 2017
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