John Andrew Pennington, who volunteered for the Navy and served his country honorably in Vietnam, died on April 12, 2019, at Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia after a long and hard-fought battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia-related illnesses. He was 70 and had resided in Wilmington for the past 35 years.
John was born in Wilmington, the son of Margaret Grady Pennington and the late Ralph Jefferson Pennington, and grew up in Chadds Ford, PA. After graduating from Kennett (Square) High School in 1967 and attending Philadelphia Technical Institute, he enlisted in the US Navy Construction Battalion (better known as the Seabees) and served from 1968-1972 throughout the Vietnam era. As a Utilities Man 3rd Class, John was a crew leader whose projects included installing pipelines, working on a barge converting sea water to fresh water, and building 136 houses for Vietnamese people in Cam Ran Bay. He was honored with the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Technical Service Medal, and Vietnam Campaign Medal.
After the war, John worked as a naval ship inspector in California, a mechanic on an offshore platform, and as head of maintenance for Harrahs Hotel and Casino in Reno, NV, before moving back East, where he spent most of his professional career as a Chemical Processor at DuPonts Chestnut Run facility in Wilmington. His interests included machinery, construction, home projects, landscaping, auto repair, ceramics, and spending time outdoors with his dogs. He was especially proud to be the grandfather of John William Pennington, who brought him inexpressible joy in the last years of his life.John was predeceased by his wife of 35 years, Jill Forster Pennington, and a brother, Ralph Pennington. He is survived by his son, John Marshall Pennington, Johns wife Elizabeth, and their son John William Pennington, of Wilmington. He is also survived by a daughter, Jewel-Lynn Pennington, and a son, Christopher Pennington, both of California; by his mother, Margaret Pennington of Avondale, PA; two sisters, Susan McCue of Avondale, PA and Faye P. Smith of Spring City, PA; and more than a dozen loving nieces and nephews.
The family will welcome visitors from 10 am to 11 am at McCrery & Harra Funeral Homes, 3710 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington on Saturday, April 20 with a memorial service to follow immediately at the funeral home at 11 am. Military honors will be provided. Burial will be private.. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Wilmington VA Medical Center, 1601 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, DE 19805.