FALKVILLE — Jessie Wayne “J. Wayne” Penn, 85, passed away peacefully at his home on January 13, 2020. His Celebration of Life service will be Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Hartselle.The body will lie in state one hour prior to the service. The officiants will be Phil Waldrep, Marty Hand, Ed Hayes and David Lowery. Interment will be in Hartselle City Cemetery. Visitation was Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Peck Funeral Home.
“Brother” Penn dedicated his life in faithful ministry as a Southern Baptist pastor for 65 years. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard Marvin Penn and Gracie Nell Rogers Penn; two sons, Phillip Wayne Penn and Michael Dale Penn and his siblings, Williard, Ronnie and William “Billy” Penn. He is survived by his faithful wife of 65 years, Gloria Ann Johnson Penn; two daughters, Floresa “Flo” Penn (Jeff) Beseth of Raymore, Missouri and Joy Penn (Marty) Hand of Hartselle. Eight granddaughters, five great- grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews.
Wayne and Gloria attended Danville High School and married after graduation.
Wayne was called into the ministry soon after they married. He attended Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina and New Orleans Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. He served churches in South Carolina and Louisiana while in school and pastorates in Alabama at Enon Baptist Church in Lawrence County, Underwood Baptist Church in Florence, Daleville Baptist Church in Daleville, Parkview Baptist Church in Decatur, Colbert Heights Baptist Church in Tuscumbia, Pine Ridge Baptist Church in Union Grove, Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in Decatur, Unity Baptist Church in Decatur, Forest Hills Baptist Church in Somerville, Liberty Baptist Church in Hartselle, and most recently, Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Hartselle where he served over ten years. He officially stepped down from pastoring, December 30, 2018.
Brother Penn, as he was affectionately known by many, was a preacher and teacher, but he was best known for being a pastor. He genuinely loved people and served them with his whole heart in every church he pastored. Humor and his love of “fellowship” over food endeared him to many people. He mentored and encouraged many young men in ministry and leaves a legacy of dedicated service to preaching the Truth of Scripture and loving people that will be impossible to replicate. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Pallbearers will be Kent Johnson, Keith Johnson, Tim Penn, Brett Speegle, Len Williamson and Jeff Beseth. Honorary pallbearers are Darrin Speegle and Chris Penn.
In lieu of flowers you may donate to Gideons International as a tribute to him because he loved the Bible and this organization so much.