In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Elinor Marion Pennell, 1934-2023

Elinor Marion Pennell, 1934-2023
IMB Photo

Elinor Marion Pennell, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in the Philippines and Indonesia, died June 9, 2023, in Savannah, Georgia. She was 88.

Elinor was born July 10, 1934, in Dekalb County, Georgia to Homer and Edna Hasty. She graduated from Tift College, Forsyth, Georgia, and received the Master of Religious Education from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

She met her husband, Wayne Pennell, while at seminary. Wayne and Elinor married in 1956. After their marriage, they moved to Lavonia, Georgia, where Wayne pastored Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.

When she was 14, Elinor felt called to foreign missions. Years later, while seeking appointment with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board), she wrote, “I feel now that I must commit my life to foreign mission service as long as doors are open to us in that direction. There are so many without Christ in other countries and so few to carry the gospel story to them. I feel that I can carry out the Lord’s will in my life as I establish a Christian home in another land, as I witness to those about me daily, and as I help my husband in his work there.”

In 1962, the Foreign Mission Board appointed Elinor and Wayne missionaries to Indonesia. Later they served in the Philippines. They retired from the IMB after serving 38 years.

Elinor is survived by her husband, Wayne; a son, Brian (Michelle) Pennell; and three step grandsons.

A funeral service was held July 30, at Lower Creek Baptist Church in Lenoir, North Carolina.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.

Read an obituary here.