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PENLEY, John Kenneth (J.K.)

07 January 1921 to 18 April, 2014

John Kenneth Penley, known as “J.K.” or “Ken” to his many friends, died at the Southwood Hospice in Calgary, 18 April 2014 at the age of 93. Ken was the son of John (“Jack”) and Wahnita Penley, prominent early Calgarians whose Penley’s Dancing Academy was well known and loved by several generations.

He is survived by his wife and great love of seventy years, Prudence, children Linda Hubert (Ben), Gordon (Marilyn) and Donald (Dona), grandchildren Casey (Anna-Maria) and Andrew Hubert, Alex (Michelle) and Emily Pyle-Penley, Daniel and Graham Penley, great-granddaughter Brooke Dawn, niece Leah Fisher and nephew, Les Bertram. He was predeceased by his parents, Jack and Wahnita Penley, his sister Nita, and nephew Lyle Bertram.

Ken attended Sunnyside and Connaught Elementary Schools and Western Canada High School. After an apprenticeship with McGill Drug and the dispensary of the Calgary General Hospital, he graduated with distinction from the University Of Alberta School Of Pharmacy. It was there that he met classmate Prudence Bamlett. They had seventy years of happy marriage together, always an inspiring life example to their extended family.

Ken served with the R.C.A.M.C. in Canada, England and North-West Europe during World War II. He and Prue were married in 1944, Ken in his Sergeant’s uniform. Prior to being sent overseas, Ken was stationed in Wetaskawin, where he and Prue made several close, life-long friends. After the war, Ken and Prue opened the first of what would eventually be three Calgary drug stores. Full partners in business as well as marriage, they prospered. Ken and Prue lived on Lansdowne Avenue where they had built in 1947. They raised their three children in this house and enjoyed many close friendships with their neighbours. They relocated to an independent living seniors’ facility 11 years ago.

Penley Drugs was a successful business in a number of ways. What Ken valued most was probably the personal and professional relationship established with the people who worked with him and Prue and the many customers they came to know closely over the years.

Ken was the recipient of the Calgary Rotary Integrity award in 1998, the Award of Excellence and Honorary Life Member of both the Alberta Pharmaceutical Association and the Calgary Yacht Club and Certificate of Recognition of the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association. In 2011, the Alberta College of Pharmacists named Ken Alberta’s Most Outstanding Pharmacist.

Ken’s interests were varied and he enjoyed them all. He was active with the Historical Society of Alberta and the Chinook Country Historical Society as well as the Glenbow Museum archives. He co-authored “The History of Pharmacy in Alberta” having previously interviewed a large number of Alberta’s first pharmacists for the historical record. A lifelong recreational sailor, he was a mainstay of the Calgary Yacht Club (twice Commodore) and the Canadian Y-Flyer Association for many years. He was also an award winning amateur maker of wines, beers and ciders. Ken loved music all his life, having grown up in the big band era and hearing many great ones at his parent’s ballroom. He played trumpet with the Brassy Bunch and the Golden Sounds.

Ken’s hobbies included wood carving and wood turning as well as compiling crossword puzzles with Calgary and historical themes which were published for the pleasure of others to solve.

Ken was well known throughout Calgary and beyond, holding the respect, friendship and admiration of many throughout his life. He lived a rich and fulfilling life. Much loved by his family, Ken will be missed and always remembered.

Ken considered himself to have been fortunate all through his life and leaves it very contented. At Ken’s request, there will be no funeral service. In lieu of flowers, one may make a donation to the United Way of Calgary (105 12 Ave SE #600, Calgary) Telephone: (403) 231-6265. The family would like to thank the staff of the Southwood Hospice Calgary for their compassionate care during Ken’s last days.

In living memory of John Kenneth Penley, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek Chapel, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E. Telephone: (403) 256-9575.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Dear Penleys,
    That was a wonderful obituary for a wonderful man! I learned many things about your father that I did not know, despite our being neighbors for so many years when I was growing up. I know it is always sad when someone dies, but reading this was actually uplifting – Ken Penley certainly lived his life well. He is an inspiration.
    All my best wishes,
    Nancy

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  2. Dave & Elinor McClimon :

    This is a little note we sent to Ken when he went into Hospice:

    Ken, Our Dear Old Friend
    We are thinking of you and our thoughts include many good memories. We count meeting you as one of the better things that happened to us and the relationship we have shared over the years has been an important part of our lives. While our paths have not crossed very often, we considered you and Prue close friends.

    Thanks for your sense of humour, your wit, your charm, your hospitality and for all the other things that make up a decent man.

    With love,

    Onner & Dave

    To all of Ken’s family, we offer our heartfelt and sincere sympathy. Ken was a great guy.

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  3. Laetitia & Norbert Mazenod :

    My Dear Friends

    This is with lots of sadness that we see Ken leaving. I remember Ken’s smile when I met him for the first time in Lansdowne. Since, he always had this same smile whenever we saw him again. We will be remembering Ken with this smile, the smile of a great and caring person.

    We would like to express our sincere condolences to you and your family, thinking especially to Prue.

    Please let us know if I can help in any way.

    With love,
    Laetitia & Norbert

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  4. Famille SAURON et MAZENOD - France :

    De notre lointaine France, mes parents se joignent nous, pour vous témoigner toute notre amitié.
    Don, ton Papa a eu une vie bien remplie, que probablement beaucoup de personnes vont découvrir aujourd’hui.
    Mais cela n’enlève rien à la peine de perdre un être cher.
    Toute notre affection.
    Thierry, Nathalie, Gaëlle, Wendy, Colette et Gérard

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  5. David Hochman :

    On behalf of the brethren of Ashlar Lodge #28, A.F. & A.M. I express to Prue and the Penley family, our heartfelt condolences on the passing of Brother Ken to the Grand Lodge above. Our prayers are with you and may the Great Architect of the Universe give you strength and support. Sincerely and Fraternally, RW Bro. David Hochman, secretary/ treasurer.

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  6. Please accept my condolences on the passing of Ken. He was a truly lovely man.

    Jon Hurdman (Ashlar Lodge)

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  7. Jennifer and Fred Butterworth :

    Dear Prue and family, Fred and I were so sorry to hear of Ken’s passing. Mom (Lucille Roxburgh) sends her sympathy as well.

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  8. Mandy Fisher and Robert Zalitach & Family :

    Dear Auntie Prue and family, Bob and I are so sad to hear about the passing of Uncle Ken. I have the fondest memories of Uncle Ken from my childhood. He was an exceptional man. Our sincere condolences to you all.

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  9. Mandy Fisher and Robert Zalitach & Family :

    Dear Auntie Prue and family, Bob and I were so sad to hear about the passing of Uncle Ken. I have the fondest memories of him from my childhood. He was truly an exceptional man. Our sincere condolences to you all.

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  10. I wish to express my sympathies on the passing of Ken to Prue and the Penley family. I have fond memories of sharing a laugh with Ken while sailing alongside the “Mint Julep” during Wednesday night races at Chestermere Lake many years ago. My parents, Ken and Mary Ross, were good friends of Ken and Prue. They had lot of fun together including vacationing in Hawaii. His kindness, smile and sense of humour will not be forgotten.

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  11. Stew and Hazel Andreen :

    We were saddened to hear of Ken’s passing. His and Prue ‘s kindness and guidance during the time I worked for them at Penley Chinook has changed and improved our lives. We will always be grateful for their friendship ! Ken’s values were always apparent in his relationship with his staff, his customers and his Pharmacy colleagues. What a great mentor! What a great man!
    Our condolences to Prue and all your family.

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  12. cheryl and Chuck :

    Dear Prue, Linda, Don, Gord, and family. Deepest sympathies in the loss of Ken. Marilyn has kept me up to date on his health issues over the years. You have all lost a good soul, and all the good memories will carry you through your difficult time… I am the twin sister of Marilyn, just in case you do not recognize my name.. Sincere sympathies again,,, Cheryl and Chuck..

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  13. Ken & Shirley Nason :

    To the family of Ken Penley:
    Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers as you celebrate a life well lived. Please accept our sincere condolences on the passing of a superb gentleman.
    Respectfully,
    Ken & Shirley Nason

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  14. Michael Fellows and Kim McMillan :

    On behalf of my sister Kim and myself, I would like to express our deepest sympathy at Ken’s passing. We both fondly remember our first work experiences at Penley’s Chinook Pharmacy in our high school years. The atmosphere was wonderful and Ken and Pru’s example of courtesy and integrity made a great impression on both of us, for which our parents were grateful. My enduring memory of Ken will always be of a beaming captain, stepping from the deck of the stately “Beth” one afternoon following an extended excursion on Sylvan lake to our dock in Norgelnwold many years ago.
    Michael Fellows and Kim McMillan

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  15. Jan, Steve and Charlotte Kemp :

    From my first meeting with Ken and Prue in 1975, I have treasured the relationship I developed with my Canadian cousins. Returning later with my own family, I was always touched by their warm welcome and wonderful hospitality. Ken’s sense of humour kept me always smiling, and I will never forget the twinkle in his eye. A lovely, kind man – I am so glad to have known him.

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  16. Stuart and Margaret Matthews :

    We are so sorry to receive this news, which has only just arrived through the courtesy of extended family members. Our loving prayers are with you all as you adjust to life without one of its stars. Ken made us so welcome when we visited, and we loved having him with us in England. We had so many laughs, and we will continue to treasure some of his wood carving given to us, as well as his sense of humour. Please assure Prue and all the family of our love for her at this time. Margaret and Stuart in Yorkshire, England.

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  17. Lee and Andy Nagy :

    Dear Prue, Linda, Gordon, Don and extended family,

    Our deepest condolences to all of you. Ken was a truly admirable man. I have such fond memories of Ken, and his loving family, at the yacht club. Ken was a natural leader, with his calm demeanour. He was always willing to teach us to sail and his enthusiasm was contagious. He set a strong example for future commodores and sailors. Our thoughts are with you. Lee, Andy, Stephen and Kristin Nagy

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  18. Don, Linda, Gord,
    I’m not sure that you are going to get this VERY late message of condolence. I gave up Facebook for quite sometime and so did not get news of your Mom and Dad’s passing until tonight, February 17/15?!?? Anyways, I am very sad to hear that your Mom and Dad are gone–they were both the greatest! I have wonderful, fond memories of the fun times at Chestermere and particularly sailing with your Dad. Ohhh, we did have some adventures. Let’s see, there was the lost contact lenses, fairy tales, Himmelman turns at the south end should we have happened to win a race, and then there was the day we were practicing flying the spinnaker with the boat’s back-end tied to the dock (Whatever were we thinking??). And I’ll always remember your mother’s cute little laugh, until of course she almost totally lost it laughing at some of our stories. Those were the best times of my youth, being with all of the “lake kids” at Chestermere and I just know that the kids living there there now in all of those big houses aren’t having half the fun that we use to have. Happy memories and hugs to you all. JOY

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