Dennis “Denny” E. Penning

August 10th, 1948 – September 7th,2023

Dennis (Denny, Coach, Wahoo) Penning, 75, passed away on September 7, 2023 at Missouri Baptist Hospital leaving behind a legacy of passion and love that will forever be etched in the hearts of those who knew him.

He was the beloved husband of Debbie (Schloessman) for over 56 years, loving dad of Dave (Karen) Penning, Scott (Jody) Penning, Pat Penning, and Chris (Nicole) Penning, proud papa of Amanda (Craig) Brodbeck, Hayley Penning, Courtney (fiance Pietro Serra) Penning, Hannah Penning, Scotty Penning, Jax Penning, Brooke Reger and great-grand papa of Aubrey and Ava Brodbeck.

Dennis was the dear brother of Pete (Kathy) Penning, brother-in-law of Glen and Ken (Pam) Schloessman, dear uncle and great uncle, nephew, cousin, friend, coach and neighbor.

Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, C.E. (Bud) and Alvina (Setzer) Penning, brother Bill Penning, nephew Keith Penning, father-in-law and mother-in-law Don and Dottie Schloessman.

Dennis graduated from Berkeley High School in 1966 and he married the love of his life, Debbie in 1967.  Dennis came from a large family of Railroaders who all worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad, so in 1967 Dennis, aka Wahoo, followed suit to support his young family.  He was promoted to Engineer in 1971 and ran engines for Missouri Pacific/Union Pacific until 1995 when he injured his back on the job.  He was a proud member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and a General Chairman for the Union Pacific-Central Region.  During his time as General Chairman he was involved in handling two historic railroad mergers: CNW and UP/SP Merger.  He negotiated Agreements that still to this day benefit the hard-working Brothers running the trains over the Union Pacific rails.  Many life long-lasting and valued friendships were made during the time he worked on the railroad.

Dennis was a man of many interests and talents. He was a dedicated baseball coach who instilled his passion for the sport in countless young athletes stretching from youth level teams, the Flames, Flames II, STL USA and the Prospects, to Collegiate level teams at Missouri Baptist College and Lindenwood.  He was a mentor, a motivator, and a true sportsman, leaving an indelible mark on the lives of his players. His love for baseball extended beyond the baseball diamond as he could discuss the intricacies of the game for hours on end. He felt that outside of his family, being able to coach so many players was his biggest reward in life. His enthusiasm was infectious, making every game-day a memorable event for friends and family alike. He treasured the memories and the long standing friendships he had with all of his former players and their families.

Coaching baseball wasn’t Dennis’ only passion, he had an insatiable love for fishing, spending countless hours out on the water, patiently waiting for the perfect catch. His fishing stories were legendary, and he shared them with a twinkle in his eye, sparking the imagination of all who heard them. In the great outdoors, Dennis enjoyed deer hunting, finding solace and adventure in the woods while patiently waiting for a deer to come within sight. His appreciation for nature was a testament to his deep connection with the world around him

Yet, the most cherished roles in Denny’s life were those of a loving husband, dad and papa. Together he and Debbie shared a journey filled with love, laughter, and unwavering support. As a Dad, Dennis guided and nurtured his four sons, instilling in them the values of dedication, love and family. Dennis’s love extended to the next generation as he was the proud Papa of his seven grandchildren and two great granddaughters. His bond with his family was a source of immeasurable pride and joy, and his presence in their lives will be sorely missed.

Dennis’ journey may have reached its final destination, but his spirit lives on in the memories of those who were fortunate to know him. His love for his family, his adoration for the outdoors, his passion for coaching baseball players, his enjoyment of reminiscing with his many friends and zest for life will continue to inspire all who knew him.

 As per Dennis’ wishes, there will be a Celebration of Dennis’ Life on Friday, September 22, 2023, at Maryland Heights Community Center 2300 McKelvey Rd., Maryland Heights, MO 63043, 5:00 – 10:00. There will be a short Remembrance Service at 7:00 at which time anyone who would like to share a story or two with the crowd may do so.

As we remember Dennis, let us cherish the moments we shared and find comfort in the knowledge that his legacy lives on in the hearts of those he touched. Rest in peace, Denny, you will forever be our beloved friend, coach, and loving family man.

The Penning family wishes to extend their thanks and gratitude to Dr. Lisa Lopez, Lisa Busch and his entire Care Team at Fresenius Kidney Care – Creve Coeur. It was because of their excellent care, guidance and dedication to Dennis we were able to have him in our lives 4 years longer.

 In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to the National Kidney Foundation in his honor.


  1. Kendall Greenwood on September 12, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    Rest well, LOVE YOU COACH!!!!

  2. John Kleweis on September 12, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for being an amazing second father figure to us rambunctious kids! You were an amazing mentor and coach! Rest well Coach P.

  3. Steve Zika on September 12, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    Rest easy Coach Den! You were so much to so many! I’m so grateful you allowed me to take a ride on the Penning train! No pun intended. 😉. You were the best Loco Pilot! It was a great ride!
    Love you Coach!

  4. Joan Jacobsmeyer on September 13, 2023 at 7:47 am

    Prayers to my Penning guys. I know how much your dad meant to you. He will always be in your heart and with you wherever you go.

  5. Dennis Callahan on September 13, 2023 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks for accepting a couple of degenerate Illinois boys to experience two of the best years of my life. Winning is all we did and I appreciate the opportunity and support you gave us all. Always felt like family and I’ll never forget it. RIP Coach.

  6. Mel Venneman on September 19, 2023 at 5:00 am

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Penning family. Rest in peace Coach Penning!

  7. Mel Venneman on September 19, 2023 at 5:02 am

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Penning family. Rest in peace Coach Penning.

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