Wade Lewis Pennington, 86, of Grapeland, passed away Saturday, March 20, 2010 at Cartmell Home for Aged in Palestine. Mr. Pennington was born near the Hayes Springs community, west of Grapeland, on April 20, 1923, the youngest son of Daniel Boone Pennington and Ada Viola Ward Pennington.
Mr. Pennington was part of a pioneer Houston County family whose roots here date back to the mid-1800s. His great-great-great-grandmother was Hannah Boone Pennington, a sister of the legendary Daniel Boone of Kentucky.
Funeral services will be held Monday, March 22, 2010 at 3 p.m. in the First Baptist Church, Grapeland with the Rev. David Bradley and the Rev. Bill Denham officiating. Interment will be in the Pennington Family Cemetery west of Grapeland, on his land his ancestors settled in 1850. Pallbearers will be his grandsons, Aaron Pennington, Ross Pennington, Ryan Pennington, Clay English, Lance English and Matt Bennett. Honorary pallbearers are Winston Sizemore, Billy Wells, Scott Talley, Mitchell Huff, David Walton, Allen Cheatham, Terry Long and Buddy Sumrall.
Mr. Pennington was preceded in death by his parents; his daughter, Nita Marie Pennington Bennett; and his grandson, Russell Brent Pennington. He was also preceded in death by four brothers, Sam, Jack, Dan and Hugh; and two sisters, Fannie Mae Mitchell and Etta Lewis.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Edna Arvay (Cummings) Pennington; three sons, Glynndon Wade Pennington, Troy Lewis Pennington and wife LaWanda, and Stanley Brent Pennington and wife Jan, all of Grapeland; two daughters, Jill English of College Station and Linda Sue Ingram and husband, Curtis of Dayton; son-in-law, Mike Bennett of Grapeland; sister, Ava June Pennington Bush of Grapeland. Also grandchildren, Aaron Wade Pennington of Grapeland, Lance Russell English of College Station, Matthew Robert Bennett and wife Liza of Shreveport, La.; Ross Howell Pennington and wife Kim of Grapeland, Ryan Glynn Pennington of Sugar Land, Ashley Marie Bennett of Grapeland, Clayton Daniel Pennington of Plantation, Fla., Morgan Lynn Pennington of Houston, Jillian Elaine Erwin of Dayton and Clancey Jayne Pennington of Grapeland; great-grandchildren, Taylor Marie Pennington, Case Howell Pennington and Colt Boone Pennington, all of Grapeland; a sister-in-law, Lupe Pennington Smoot of Grapeland; and numerous nieces and nephews
Mr. Pennington graduated from Grapeland High School in 1941 where he excelled in academics. He married the love of his life on Sept. 21, 1942. On Feb. 12, 1943 he entered the U.S. Army where he served his country in World War II. He was stationed in the Philippines, Luzon and other bases in the Pacific until Feb. 22, 1946. He returned to Grapeland and began his farming and ranching career which spanned over 70 years. He was a member of the First Baptist Church, Grapeland. He was one of the original founders of the Grapeland Coop, and served as president. He was also director for many years of the Houston County ASCS. He was a member of the Texas-Oklahoma Watermelon Association and the Texas Angus Association, He loved sports and always backed the Grapeland Sandies. He rarely missed a football, basketball, or baseball game. He talked fondly of the 1954 quarter final game he attended, the State Championship game in 1974 where his son Stanley played, the girl’s and boy’s basketball state championship games in Austin. Later in his years he never missed a Sandie game on the radio. Television was his friend, and he enjoyed the news, weather, Astros, Mavericks and Cowboys. He loved card games and dominoes with his friends and family, and especially the annual competitive holiday poker games with his children and grandchildren. His greatest joy was his work and having his family involved with him. All his children and grandchildren have spent time with grandpa in the watermelon business, a fact he was proud of. Also thousands of young men and women and several generations have spent their summers working for him in the Grapeland watermelon fields and loading facilities. In the recent years he was so proud to be partnered in the business with Glynn, Troy and LaWanda, Stanley and Jan, Aaron and Ross and working with them on a daily basis. He saw his business grow from a small watermelon patch, selling melons on the side of the road, to the large operation it is today, Wade Pennington and Sons, and sending his beloved product not only throughout Texas, but coast to coast and into Canada. He was proud on July 4th each year, he gave a watermelon to every veteran that would come to the stands. In addition to the watermelon business Mr. Pennington was a longtime peanut farmer and Angus cattle producer. He was especially proud his business received the Outstanding Peanut Producer of Texas in 1991, and was honored at a ceremony at the Dallas Fair. He was presented the award by the Honorable Kiki dela Garza, longtime Texas Senator. On Oct. 28, 2004, in a ceremony in Waco, Wade Pennington and Sons were honored by Baylor University, Institute for Family Business, as the Texas Family Business of the Year.
Condolence calls will be received from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Family Life Center of the First Baptist Church, Grapeland. Arrangements are under the direction of Bailey & Foster Chapel, Grapeland.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of Grapeland, First United Methodist Church of Grapeland or to the Russell Pennington Scholarship Fund c/o Grapeland State Bank.
To view online, leave condolences or sign the guest book go to www.baileyandfosterfuneralhome.com