Gary William Penkes of East Haddam, passed away on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at Yale New Haven Hospital at the age of 69. Born in Middletown, Connecticut in 1950, he was the son of the late William and LaVerne (Wallett) Penkes.
He was a graduate of Portland High School where he made life-long friends.
Gary and his best friend, the late Brendan Flannery, enlisted together in the U.S. Army after high school and were Vietnam veterans. Gary was a member of VFW Post 5095.
After working for 21 years for Regional School District 13’s Frank Ward Strong Middle School, he retired in 2017. He was recognized by the District for his dedication, hard work and positive attitude and influenced many of the educators, staff, and students with his compassionate spirit and sense of humor. He looked forward to spending time with family and friends, reading, golfing, fishing, travelling, and spending winters in Florida.
Gary loved all sports and used his baseball knowledge as a coach for the East Haddam Little League and the American Legion baseball programs.
He was a Harley-Davidson enthusiast and loved riding through the New England countryside with his friends. He was an avid fisherman and was likely to stop during a ride, take out a travel-sized fishing rod, and hope for the best.
Most of all, Gary was a dedicated family man who was always grateful for everything and everyone in his life. He loved to talk about his family’s accomplishments and travels and always took enjoyment in sharing special occasions with loved ones.
Gary is survived by his wife Linda Gagnon Penkes and their son, Scott William Penkes and Scott’s wife Paige Todd of Jacksonville, FL and two treasured grandchildren, Riley and Grayson.
He leaves behind three siblings; Ronald Wallett and wife Marilyn of Palm Coast, FL; William Penkes and wife Wendy, of Portland, CT; and, Sharon (Penkes) Newell of Moodus, CT.
Gary is survived by his father-in-law, J. Edward Gagnon and companion Kathleen Bayko; brothers-in-law Charles Gagnon and wife Pamela of Waterboro, ME, and Steven Gagnon of New London, CT; and, sisters-in-law Lisa (Gagnon) and husband Edward Taylor of Ballwin, MO; and Lori (Gagnon) and husband LTG Leopoldo Quintas of Ft. Bragg, NC.
He was the proud uncle of many nieces and nephews as well as great nieces and nephews. He was everyone’s favorite “Uncle Gary”.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his mother-in-law Trudy Gagnon, and his brother-in-law, Michael Newell.
Many thanks to the East Haddam Ambulance Assoc., Yale New Haven Hospital, and the VA Medical Center for their care and professionalism.
A Celebration of Life will be scheduled and announced at a future date due to the current limits on gatherings. In the meantime, be kind to each other and wish Gary well on his journey.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gary William Penkes, please visit our floral store.