TOPSHAM — Bertram F. Pennell, age 91, of Topsham, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at Midcoast Hospital.

Bert was born on March 2, 1926 in Topsham, Maine, the son of Charles and Bertha (French) Pennell. He attended Brunswick Schools.

On November 26,1948 he married L. Marie Coffin. Bert and Marie lived in several towns in Maine, including Gardiner and Gray, before settling in Topsham. Marie passed away on July 24, 2004.

Bert enlisted in the U.S. Navy in April of 1944. He was a Seaman First Class and served on the USS Earl K. Olsen (DE- 765). On the ship he manned the 40mm anti-aircraft gun. During his years in the Navy, Bert traveled the world and would visit many places including the Philippines, Italy, Spain, Germany and Yokohama. Perhaps the most memorable part of his military service was being part of one of the first amphibious troops to reach the shores of Normandy on the morning of June 6,1944. Bert was discharged in May of 1946.

 

 

After his service in the Navy, Bert returned to Brunswick, Maine, and worked at Brunswick Naval Air Station as a general laborer. In 1947 he started working as a signalman for the Maine Central Railroad (MCRR). Bert would travel the state maintaining the signals and gates at railroad crossings. He retired from MCRR as a Foreman in 1986 after 39 years of service.

Bert always kept active after retirement and his love of the ocean would continue to keep him busy. At 60 years of age, he would begin his summer job of lobstering. At times he would have over 100 traps that he solely attended to. Bert’s last year of lobstering was the summer of 2016 at the age of 90.

Bert loved being outside and many of his interests reflected this. He would plant a garden every summer and would give away most of what he grew. In his younger years he spent time fishing and hunting and in 1952 became a member of The Biggest Bucks in Maine Club. Bert was also an avid cribbage and pool player and enjoyed pitching horseshoes. He was a member of The Brunswick Elks Lodge #2043 and the American

Legion Post 202.

In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by his brothers Robert, Russell (Buck), Myron and Donald. He was also predeceased by his close friend and brother-in-law, Frank Coffin, Sr.

Bert is survived by his children, Charlie Pennell and his companion, Debbie Nuttelman of Florida; Jim Pennell and his wife Marie, of Topsham; Jack Pennell and his wife Lynn of Bowdoin; David Pennell and his wife Sue of Topsham; Michael Pennell and his wife Mariah of Bowdoin; Lynn Sirois and her husband Roger of Topsham. In addition, he is survived by his 9 grandchildren; Kara Pennell and her fiancé Steve Campbell of Bowdoinham; Nicole Pennell of Leesburg, Virginia; Joseph Pennell and his wife Tristan of Rhode Island; Kelly Lopez and her husband Nate of Woburn, Massachusetts; Tyler Pennell and his companion Lori Caron of Bowdoin; Joshua Pennell of Bowdoin; Brittany Pennell and her fiancé Ryan Whalon of Brunswick; Adam Sirois of Topsham and Abby Sirois of Topsham. Bert also is survived by 4 great-grandchildren: Aubrey, Gabriella, Lucas and Leyla-Marie.

Military services will be held on Sunday, March 26 at noon at the American Legion Post 202, 79 Foreside Road, Topsham. Funeral services will be held at Brackett Funeral Home, 29 Federal Street in Brunswick at 2:00pm with Pastor Jonathan Larssen officiating. A gathering will follow at the Brunswick Elks Lodge. Bert will be cremated and his ashes scattered at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to: The Maine Children Cancer Program, c/o BPOE #2043, 179 Park Row, Brunswick, ME 04011 or The Travis Mills Foundation, 89 Water Street, Hallowell, ME 04347.