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February 18, 1968 ~ November 3, 2023 (age 55) 55 Years Old
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GenePaul “GP” William Pennington passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November 3, 2023 at
his home in Jenison, MI. He is survived by his beloved wife, Alisha (Vonk), and children
Myranda Marcus and her husband, Kevin, Connor Jacobson and his wife, Alexia, Myles and
McKenzie. He will be lovingly remembered by his father, Larry, his mother Roberta Smith, his
sister Tena Mattingly and her husband, Sean, his brothers, LaVern and Patrick and their
spouses Lori and Jackie, along with multiple special nieces and nephews and many, many
GP began working at a young age and quickly found his passion for working in the restaurant
industry. He started his career working behind the scenes as a dishwasher/bus boy and line
cook then learned and developed skills to become a waiter, bartender, store manager and
general manager. He easily developed relationships with guests and staff through his larger-
than-life personality. GP led a dedicated crew of staff from Bill Knapps, Papa Vino’s, and
Wendy’s. After working in the front of the house for many years, he made the decision to
transition into the maintenance department. As was true with many of his adventures, he
quickly developed and learned the skills needed to excel and became the Maintenance
Supervisor for Meritage Hospitality overseeing 50+ stores. GP led his team by doing; he never
asked anyone to do something that he would not do himself. He provided ongoing customer
care by ensuring each store was running at its best. GP was recently recognized as the Titan
Award recipient for “consistently demonstrating a commitment to our brand by living our values,
being actively engaged and making a significant positive impact on our people, business and
GP was a “foodie”. He loved to cook and create amazing meals for anyone. He received
tremendous satisfaction by being able to watch others enjoy his creations; often insisting to
watch their first bite. He mastered the art of smoking meat and other delicious foods. He loved
using the flat top and grill as well. GP was quick to engage in conversation about food always
recommending various restaurants and recipes. GP would become animated and enthused
when discussing anything related to the 80’s, but especially big hair bands; Queensryche being
his all-time favorite. GP loved watching movies, playing video games, and driving Traxxas
trucks. He was an avid corn hole player and won the seasonal back loop camping tournament
this summer. GP, Alisha, Myles, McKenzie, and their dog, Dusty loved spending their summers
“glamping.” GP could be easily spotted in any crowd holding his coral yeti tumbler, riding
around on his punisher golf cart, or surrounded by a group of children sharing his phone to play
a game or watch a video. GP was easy to talk to and always invited everyone to join in
whatever activity was going on. GP brought joy to so many by filing a remodeled Wendy’s frosty
machine to serve ice cream and/or adult beverages. He will be missed by so many.
A service will be held at Bethany United Reformed church located at 5401 Byron Center Ave.
Wyoming, MI 49519 on Saturday, November 11, 2023. The service will be officiated by Pastor
Jon Zondervan at 11:00 am. Visitation to follow until 2:00 p.m.
If you are interested in donating directly for GP’s youngest children’s future educational/training
related needs, you may contact Adventure Credit Union (adventurecu.org) or mail a check c/o
Myles and/or McKenzie Pennington to PO Box 895 Grand Rapids, MI 49518