Thomas Durward Pennington Jr.
Little-Davenport Funeral Home
355 Dawsonville Highway Southwest
Gainesville, GA
Memorial services are scheduled for Thomas Durward Pennington Jr., 73, who died Monday, March 4, 2013. Services will be held Thursday, March 7, 2013, at 4 p.m. at the Gainesville First United Methodist Church. Dr. Terry Walton and Dr. D.B. Shelnutt will officiate. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, March 6, from 5-8 p.m. at Little & Davenport, 355 Dawsonville Highway, Gainesville, Ga.

Durward was born in Albany, Ga., and graduated from Albany High School where he was a four-sport letterman and is in the Albany Sports Hall of Fame. He went to the University of Georgia on a football scholarship and kicked the winning point to secure the SEC title for Georgia in 1959. In 1961, he kicked a 52-yard field goal that was a UGA record for 13 years. After graduation Durward was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and played two years for the Dallas Texans.

In 1965, Durward came to Gainesville High School as an assistant football coach where he was affectionately known as "Coach P." After eight years he left GHS for a business position with his father-in-law, Charles Thurmond, but Durward never gave up coaching. He continued as a volunteer coach for GHS athletics throughout his life and had a positive influence on generations of young men. One former student comments, "I first met Coach P. in seventh grade but he has coached me the rest of my life." Another student says, "He was not only a coach but a compassionate friend who did so much for so many behind the scenes." "Durward never turned his back on any athlete who needed words of encouragement or financial help," according to Wayne Vickery, longtime friend and Gainesville High Athletic Director. Because of his unselfish dedication to young people Durward received the Kiwanis Youth Service Award in 2002. He was also awarded an honorary diploma from Gainesville High School for his unwavering support through the years. Also, Durward has continued to be a loyal University of Georgia supporter by endowing the Durward and Betsy Pennington Scholarship for football players.

Throughout his life Durward was a devoted family man, husband, father and grandfather. His calm demeanor and love supported his family through happy and sad times. He enjoyed being surrounded by his grandchildren, especially at the beach. He took great pleasure watching his grandchildren participate in sports. He treasured his friends and was loved by many.

Durward was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas Durward Pennington Sr., and Irene Davenport Pennington; his brother, Milton Jackson Pennington; and his grandson, Tyler Wahl Safarriyeh. He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Betsy Thurmond Pennington; son and daughter-in-law, Thomas Durward Pennington III and Melissa Miller Pennington; daughter and son-in-law, Susan Pennington Rosetti and Marcus Rosetti; daughter and son-in-law, Carrie Pennington Safarriyeh and Jeff Safarriyeh; grandchildren, Thomas Durward Pennington IV, Sophie Rosetti, Grant Rosetti, Olivia Rosetti, Brandon Safarriyeh, Ella Safarriyeh, Blake Safarriyeh and Emma Safarriyeh; sister, Becky Pennington Knight; and nieces and nephews; Ladd Murphy, Lady Murphy Harcrow, Cristen Pennington Everett and Jackson Pennington.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Durward's memory to Tyler's Way Foundation c/o Keyworth Bank, 11655 Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek, GA 30097, or online at

Those wishing to make online condolences may do so at
Published by on Mar. 6, 2013.
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Funeral services provided by:
Little-Davenport Funeral Home
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13 Entries
I have just learned of Durward's untimely passing.
Please accept my sincerest condolences. He was a great guy.
Seems lie only a short time ago that this big lanky guy of about 16 appeared beside my lifeguard chair at St. Simons and we struck up a conversation. Next time I saw him was at Payne Hall in Athens.
I was always very fond of him and he will be missed.
I hope you are doing well and perhaps we will see you at Amelia Island this Spring or Summer.

Billy Dobbsj
Billy Dobbs
March 17, 2013
We are so saddened to hear of the loss of our friend Durwood. Betsy, we have you and all the family in our prayers and know that God has Durwood in His hands.
Tony and Malinda Watts
March 14, 2013
Thoughts and prayers for the whole Pennington Family! I am so sorry for your loss. Big Hugs to all. Love Hally O'Kelley DeMent
Hally O'Kelley DeMent
March 9, 2013
Thinking of you during this sad time and remembering Coach P with a smile and fond memories.
Ms.Jackie Nicholson
March 8, 2013
Edmund & Anne Waller
March 7, 2013
You and your family are in our thought and prayers and will be for a while.
Carol and Ronnie Ransom
March 7, 2013
I will always remember his encouraging words as my coach in football and track, and later in my coaching career.
Eddie Howell
March 6, 2013
I always remembered Coach Pennington and how he coached me in basketball. God Bless

Dianne Stephens- Bargren, Clearwater Florida
March 6, 2013
The Grady Young Foundation, Inc. expresses its condolences, thoughts and prayers to the family of Coach Pennington. May God bless, comfort, strengthen and sustain you and give you peace. We respected and are grateful for having been coached by Coach Pennington while at GHS.

Charles G. Young
Charles G. Young
March 6, 2013

We send our deepest sympathy for your loss of Durwood. I didn't know him, but remember his accomplishments at the University of Georgia football - bulldogs. Phyllis and I will keep you and your family in our prayers.

Raleigh & Phyllis Tanner, Stafford, VA.
March 6, 2013
Dearest Betsy we are thinking about you. We have so many fun memories of Durward and will cherish them. Wish we could be there, but John is still recovering from knee and ankle problems. Our love and prayers..Winks and John
Winks and John Floyd-Jones
March 6, 2013
I am so sorry for your loss. Praying for you and your family to find joy in this sad time. Love you, Deanna
March 6, 2013
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Little Davenport Funeral Home
March 6, 2013
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