Deceased April 22, 2017
Cholly Penniman was born in Meridian, Miss., in 1928 and died in Philadelphia on April 22, 2017, of a blood disorder. He went to Friends School in Wilmington, Del., where his father was rector of Trinity Church. He and I met freshman year when we served in the Christian Association—partly, we admitted, to meet girls, but also because we admired our chaplains, John Coburn and Robert Brown; they and Cholly’s father influenced me to decide on the ministry. We both pledged Kappa Theta and were roommates for two years.
We had kept in close touch ever since as loyal and supportive friends. He served in the Army Ordnance Corps in Korea in 1952–53 and then followed me to the Virginia Theological Seminary, where I was class of ’56 and he was ’57. He a was pastor in parishes in New York and Philadelphia, and then joined the staff of the Franklin Institute from 1972 to 1993, where he was a skillful and prolific craftsman of historical exhibits, most notably restoring what he described as “a unique antique,” the 19th-century Maillardet automaton.
He married Annette Eckert, who was a director of Christian education and became his partner in many ministries with the Diocese of Pennsylvania, sharing her poetry and his drawings and photography. They led the Church Without Walls and worked for the Church’s companion Diocese of Guatemala. Annette died just a month after he did; their ashes are buried at his family’s cemetery in Culpeper, Va.
He is survived by two nephews; Annette’s daughter; Lynda; and their families, and he is warmly remembered by Breezy and me, and by a host of people from many walks of life who appreciated his droll humor and, as the old Bibles put it, “deep loving-kindness.”
Kingsley Smith ’50