NORMAN PENNER World War II Veteran, Professor Emeritus, York University Making the World a Better Place A loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle, Norman Penner died peacefully at the age of eighty-eight on Thursday, April 16, 2009 at Sunnybrook Veterans' Hospital in Toronto surrounded by his family. Norman dedicated his life to making the world a better place for all. The son of North Winnipeg Alderman Jacob Penner and Rose Penner (Shapack), Norman grew up in a family devoted to the cause of social justice. He met his wife Norma at a youth conference in 1938 and they married four years later. Devoted companions for 71 years, they shared their passion for a better world, which included the world of progressive politics, art, music, opera, theatre, and a love of family and friends. After serving as a signalman in World War II, Norman returned home with his commitment to political change intact, but also with a young family to raise. Showing an uncommon commitment to fatherhood, he still managed to work in movements for social and political change for another decade. Witty and affable, Norman eventually became a successful sales agent in the electrical heating business before coming to his true calling: at the age of 41, he enrolled in political science at University of Toronto where he received his BA, MA and PhD. Initially hired as a lecturer, Norman quickly became a full time professor at Glendon College, York University. For twenty-four years, Norman was a respected and beloved teacher. He authored four important books on Canadian history and politics, and wrote numerous articles, scholarly essays and reviews. Norman taught his last class at Glendon College in 1995 at the age of 74. Norman will be deeply missed by his wife Norma, his children Steve (Mary Ellen Marus), Joyce (Herman Parsons), Gary (Marlene Kadar), Bob (Shaena Lambert); his siblings Walter (Gladys), Roland (Janet), and Ruth as well as in-laws Addie Penner and Harry Gulkin (Marie Murphy); the families of his late brothers-in-law, Al and Joe Lipes; his grandchildren Dylan (Chris), Emma, Jacob, Peter and Lucy; as well as his many loving nieces and nephews and all of their children as well as his many friends and colleagues. Special thanks to Ellen Lipes and Cathy Gulkin for their ongoing attention and devotion. The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Sunnybrook Veterans' Hospital for their kindness, support and exceptional care. A Memorial will be held for Norman on Sunday, May 3 at 2 p.m. in Glendon Hall, located at Glendon College, 2275 Bayview Avenue at Lawrence. Donations in Norman's honour may be made to Doctors Without Borders and The Council of Canadians. I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, Alive as you or me Says I, 'But Joe, you're ten years dead,' 'I never died,' says he 'I never died,' says he.
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Published in the Toronto Star on Apr. 25, 2009