Raymond E. “Ray” Pensel, 81, of Cape Girardeau, died Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, at The Lutheran Home in Cape Girardeau.
Ray, the second son of Louis and Edna Kasten Pensel, was born in the family home in Cape Girardeau County on June 17, 1934. On Feb. 20, 1960, he married Mary Ann Feezor in Memorial Methodist Church in Farmington, Missouri. Together, they enjoyed 55 years of marriage. To this union was born two daughters who survive: Lisa (Stephen) Batts of Leesburg, Virginia, and Greta (John) Ceranic of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Other survivors include: four grandchildren, Brittany and Madison Batts, Tara (Jairo) Ceranic Salinas, and John “Chip” Ceranic; two siblings, Gerald “Jerry” (Mary Sue) Pensel of Crestwood, Missouri, and Mary Catherine (Bob) Feemster of Jackson, and a sister-in-law, Dorothy Pensel of Jackson. Numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins complete the family circle.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents; an older brother, Carl Pensel, and a younger brother and sister-in-law, Harold and Donna Pensel.
Ray graduated from Jackson High School in the class of 1952. Continuing his education, he attended the former Southeast Missouri State College, graduating in 1956 with a degree of secondary education. He later obtained a master’s degree and specialist’s degree from the University of Missouri. Choosing to pursue a career in teaching led to teaching in Berkley, Missouri, in St. Louis County. He accepted an opportunity to return to his alma mater, Jackson High School, where he taught biology and science. A career change led to high school administration, where he served as principal at Bloomfield (Missouri) High School, Perryville (Missouri) Senior High School, and 10 years at Central Senior High School in Cape Girardeau.
Highlights of his career as a classroom teacher include the accomplishments of his students in their careers, working with student councils and science fair participants. Among the personal honors he received were being named Outstanding Educator by various organizations. After retiring from public education, Ray worked for eight years as associate registrar at Southeast Missouri State University. His duties there often included working with veterans and their benefits.
Upon retirement, he volunteered as an ombudsman with East Missouri Area Agency on the Aging, visiting two nursing homes each week to serve as an advocate for the residents and their families. Recognition for this effort was given in 2007.
Ray grew up west of Fruitland and was a former long-time member of St. John’s United Church of Christ. After marriage, he faithfully served in many leadership roles within the United Methodist Church. He readily stepped forward for numerous offices, organized small groups and was a Sunday school teacher of the Grace UMC New Disciples Class for 16 years. On the district level, he served as lay leader of the Cape-Farmington District. A favorite community service club was Cape West Rotary Club, where he had perfect attendance for 32 years. Ray was a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award, and later recognized his wife and two daughters with the same award.
In 2004 Ray was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and through the remaining years was challenged by the limitations it placed upon his life. In 2009 the Pensels moved to Saxony Village Retirement Community.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, at Grace United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau, and from 1 p.m. until service time on Saturday at the church. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. with Rev. Tom Sullenger officiating.
Interment will follow in Cape County Memorial Park Cemetery.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to Grace United Methodist Church Fellowship Fund or Cape West Rotary Club (Paul Harris Fellowship).
McCombs Funeral Home in Cape Girardeau is in charge of arrangements.
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