We Remember


August 11, 1947 — April 21, 2022

Ernst Penninga met his loving Saviour on April 21, 2022.

To know Ernie was to love Ernie.  He will be remembered for his big smile, hearty laugh, friendly personality, warm embraces, and deep faith.

Ernie was born near Groningen, Holland on August 11, 1947 to Gerrit and Marie Penninga.  He was the youngest of three children.  In 1952, his family immigrated to Canada, arriving in Manitoba.  His family moved west 13 times across Canada before finally settling in Rutland, BC in 1957.  He left school after Grade Nine to help his father in their meat shop, Rutland Meat Market.  This is where Ernie learned the trade that would serve him for the next forty years.

Ernie married Ruth Epp on August 30, 1969.  Together they had three children:  Martin (1972), Michael (1973) and Melanie (1976).  He always showed immense pride in his family.

In 1976, after working as a salesman for several years, Ernie and his business partner started Bonanza Meat Packers. Six years later, he sold his half of the business, and in 1983 he started his own business called Kelowna Custom Meat Cutting.  Ernie successfully ran this company for 19 years until he retired in 2002.  He was well-loved by his customers, who knew him as fair, friendly and hard-working.

Ernie was known for his strong faith and his desire to help others.  He served his church as an usher for many years, and more recently helped with a seniors group at Kelowna Gospel Fellowship.  Ernie had a heart for missions and enjoyed serving on three short-term missions trips to Ecuador (1994), Romania (2000), and Mozambique (2002).  From 2004 to 2021, he could be found volunteering every Tuesday morning at the Perking Lot (in Kelowna General Hospital), where he cheerfully served up coffee and smiles to anyone who came to the counter.  At Christmastime, Ernie could often be found ringing a bell and collecting donations for the Salvation Army, an organization that made a difference in his own life as a new immigrant to Canada so long ago.

In his spare time, Ernie enjoyed reading, gardening, cycling and travelling.  He and Ruth visited over 40 countries during their adventures together.

Ernie leaves behind his loving wife of 52 years, Ruth; his children, Martin (Lisa), Michael (Jeanne) and Melanie; and his beloved grandchildren: Mira, Weston, Nate, McKinley, Koen and Brodie.  He is also survived by his sister, Ruth (Mo) Umran; his brother, Hank (Cheryl) Penninga; brother-in-Law, John Epp; sister-in-law, Rene Poole; sister-in-law Carol (Ken) Rempel; and many nieces and nephews who loved him very much.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Gideons Canada, or a charity of your choice.

Ernie’s Celebration of Life will be held MONDAY, MAY 23, 2022, at 1:00 PM (PDT) at KELOWNA GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP, 3714 Gordon Dr, Kelowna, BC.  If you are unable to attend in person, please join the family online by Livestream at the time of the service (to be posted prior to the service), a recording will be made available to view shortly thereafter. 

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.


MONDAY, MAY 23, 2022 at 1:00 pm


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Service Information

Service Details

The service for PENNINGA, Ernst is scheduled for MONDAY, MAY 23, 2022 at 1:00 pm. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:


3714 Gordon Dr Kelowna, BC


Special Requests:


Funeral Pointers:



  • John Heinrichs says:

    Sincere sympathies to the entire Penninga family.

  • Jason Gordon says:

    Such an amazing man, my condolences to Marty and the rest of the family. He was always smiling, cheered loud and hard for the Owls, and of course kept our high school basketball road trips well fueled with moose pepperoni:). My condolences.

  • Pearl Fehr says:

    Ruth and family, Ernie and I sorrow with you. I loved having Ernie on the front lines team at KGF. I could count on him and his warm welcome to those coming to service. He was a willing helper. Our life group is also holding you up in prayer, Ruth.

  • Shana Kavaloff says:

    Mike, Jeanne and family, we are deeply saddened at the loss of your dear Dad, We hope you know you will be in our thoughts and prayers during this time and in the challenging days to come. We wish we knew him. All our love,
    Gordon and Shana Kavaloff

  • Wally Spencer says:

    Sincere sympathy to the Penninga Family. Our prayers are with you at this time. Ernie was a well respected friend since our Rutland school days. He will be truly missed.
    Wally and Evelyn Spencer

    • Margo Dyck says:

      My sympathy to your entire family as you mourn the loss of you father, grandfather and husband. I am thankful I got to know him, and will always remember his warmth and friendliness. Hugs to your family. Praying for you as you go through this difficult time.

  • Glen & Sharon Forrester & Family says:

    Our sincere condolences to the Penninga Family. You are in our prayers and thoughts.

  • Ethel Goerzen says:

    My Deepest sympathy to the Penninga family on the passing of their loved one, he will be greatly missed.

  • Tony Markoff says:

    Ruth and Family
    Our deepest condolences to all of you in your loss.
    May you be comforted in knowing Ernie was large in stature in so many
    Respects, from his massive welcoming smile, open mindedness, and
    Interest in people of all walks of life. Kelowna has lost a fine citizen.
    Tony and Vy Markoff

  • Rosslyn Ellett says:

    My sincerest condolences to Ruth and the Penninga family. I knew Ernie while volunteering at the Perking Lot at KGH. He was a joy to volunteer with and will be missed. by many.

  • Julie Fiorentino says:

    To the Penninga family,
    I was so saddened to read about Ernie’s passing. I volunteered in the Perking Lot at Kelowna General Hospital for many years with Ernie. My favourite shifts were the ones we worked together. I loved being up at crack of dawn and he would make me laugh immediately upon arrival. He was always witty, fun and enthusiastic! He taught me the tricks to being an efficient barista and how to pour the perfect coffee. Whenever I finished a 5 hour shift with Ernie, it was not my feet that hurt – it was my belly from all the laughter we shared!
    Ernie Penninga will always hold a special place in my heart.
    May his wisdom resonate in your memory and his wit make you laugh on the days you need it most.
    Julie Fiorentino …. he always called me ‘Julia’ – and we agreed that I would just stop correcting him 😉

  • Laura West says:

    My deepest condolences to the Penninga family and Ruth baby. Ernie was such a friendly joyful giant and it was always such a pleasure to be in his presence. I always enjoyed sharing a few laughs and listening to what was going on his in his life while cleaning his teeth. He had such a beautiful smile that could brighten anyone’s day. I’m so sorry for this loss.
    Lot’s of love Laura

  • Sabine Mellies-Thalheim says:

    Our heartiest sympathy for Ruth and the entire Penninga family! We are so sad to hear that Ernie passed away. What a great loss! May his soul now rest in perfect peace and may yours be comforted with Gods blessing! We embrace you from abroad and keep you in our minds and prayers!!! Loving greetings from Sabine, cousin (who always looked up to the tall and bighearted cousin) for all of the Mellies relatives in Germany

  • Sabine Mellies-Thalheim says:

    Our sincerest sympathy to Ruth and the entire Penninga family! We are so sad to hear that Ernie passed away. What a great loss! May his soul now rest in perfect peace and may yours be comforted with Gods blessing! We embrace you from abroad and keep you in our minds and prayers!!! Loving greetings from Sabine, cousin (who always looked up to the tall and bighearted cousin) for all of the Mellies relatives in Germany

  • Joe and Irene Hofer says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a life well lived! Thank you for sharing so well Martie,Melanie and Mike.
    Ruth, we pray God’s peace and comfort for you and the family as you look ahead one day at a time. Our hearts are heavy as we process such a great loss in your family. Our only hope is Jesus!
    Much love,Joe and Irene Hofer

  • Justin dueck says:

    Very sorry for your loss.
    Deepest condolences.
    Bless you all.

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