Geraldine Faye “Gerry” (Martin) Penner was born December 29, 1936, at Corn, Oklahoma to John H & Selma (Schmidt) Martin. She accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior in January of 1946 in their country kitchen around the pot belly stove. Her parents prayed with her after clearly showing God’s plan of salvation. John 3:17 was a special Bible verse which she claimed for herself at that time. She was baptized in a farm pond on May 26, 1946, near Bessie Oklahoma. She attended Greenfield Grade School, a 2-room country school in Oklahoma. When this school closed, Gerry attended the Corn Public School through 8th grade. She graduated from Corn Bible Academy in 1954. Gerry then started nurses training because there were insufficient funds to attend college to become a Home Economics teacher. Her nurse’s training fees were $50 a year for 3 years. This fee included room and board, all books, and uniforms. She was required to work from 11pm – 7am and then start classes at 8:00am. She graduated in 1957 and started working at the Clinton Hospital in the OB ward. Throughout her nursing career, Gerry primarily worked in the OB department, working the night shift in Weatherford, OK, and Dodge City, KS, until retiring in 1998. Even though she worked the night shift she did not miss church or make a habit of sleeping during the sermon.
Gerry married Willy Penner April 4,1958, at the Bessie MB church. They had been married just short of 65 years at the time of her death. They were the proud parents of 4 children: Ronna, Ivan, Leon, and Carla, who died as an infant. She and Willy worked to provide a nurturing environment and a foundation built on Christ’s love for the world.
Gerry provided an example of service in the church to her family. She served as pianist at various churches and as chairwoman of Southern District Women’s Missionary Service of the Mennonite Brethren Conference. Gerry made countless Wednesday evening church meals. She also led women’s Bible studies and mentored younger women in the church. Her greatest involvement was at the Cimarron Valley View Bible Church where she served, and her family attended, for 43 years. She also served the Cimarron community as a board member of the Shepherds Center Nursing Home. She found her greatest reward as Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother, helping create a family legacy of loving Christ. She was known by family and all who knew her as a woman of prayer.
The last 20 years of Gerry’s life were characterized by enduring physical pain. Although her physical activity was limited, she was never known as a complainer. Gerry went into the care of her Savior on Saturday, January 28, 2023, at the age of 86. She is survived by her husband Willy Penner of North Newton, KS; daughter Ronna Raber and husband Craig of Pampa, TX; son Ivan Penner and wife Karen of Peoria, AZ; and son Leon Penner and wife Kathy of Wichita, KS; grandchildren Erin Raber; Kendra Jackson and husband Nathan; Luke Raber and wife Sarah; Jared Penner and wife Amanda; Marcus Penner and wife Hannah; Alexandria Penner; Christopher Penner and wife Danitza; Corinne Manifacier and husband Morgan; great-grandchildren John Jackson, Hannah Jackson, Dan Jackson, Abigail Jackson, Timothy Jackson, Silas Jackson, Daniel Raber, Ayden Raber, Leif Raber, Jacob Penner, Claire Penner, Aubrey Penner, Peyton Penner.
Visitation will take place at Petersen Funeral Home, 215 North Main Street, Newton, Kansas on Friday, February 3, 2023 between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm. Service will be Saturday, February 4, 2023 at 10:00 am at Koerner Heights Church in Newton Kansas, 320 West Meridian. Private Family Burial will take place on the Monday following.
Gerry was like a second mom to me during her time in Cimarron at Valleyview Church. She mentored me as a young woman to lead in women’s ministries and encouraged me in her Bible studies to learn to lead studies myself. My son was saying that it was through a Children’s messge she gave that he accepted Christ as a young child. The impact she had in our church and community was immeasurable! Great will be her reward in Heaven. I love her dearly and she will be missed. I know I will see her again in Heaven. My heartfelt sympathy to her family she loved so much.
Such a sweet and precious lady! My parents (Marvin & Elsie Vogt) loved visiting with Willy & Gerry! I know she will be missed by her family but she’s in a much better place and we will all be reunited with our loved ones some day.
So sorry for the loss of Gerry! She was such a loving, caring, and generous, soft spoken lady!
May your fond memories bring you comfort now and in the days ahead!🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼