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Robert Penner

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Robert Penner

April 4, 1960 - October 5, 2023


With great sadness, we announce that Robert Penner, of Richmond, BC, passed away on October 5, 2023, after a year-long battle with cancer.

Rob, the youngest of 12 children, was born on April 4, 1960, to George and Edna Penner in Mission, BC. After graduating from W.J. Mouat Secondary School, Abbotsford, Rob attended His Hill Bible School in Comfort, Texas. From there he joined a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Discipleship Training School in Salem, Oregon. In 1981, Rob travelled to Hong Kong to participate in a YWAM Far East Evangelism Team. There he met Joy Williams, and they were married two years later. Rob and Joy went on to adopt two boys Yik Wah (Joseph Alan) and Yik Man (Benjamin James).

Although Rob did not go to university to complete an undergrad, he was well-educated, and over time, he acquired two master’s degrees (MDiv & ThM) from Regent College, Vancouver, and both a Doctor of Intercultural Studies and a Doctor of Education in Intercultural Studies from Western Seminary, Portland.

Rob served as a missionary in Hong Kong and China as well as pastored in five different churches in Canada and Hong Kong. In addition, he co-authored and wrote several books. Rob delighted in languages. He read Greek and Hebrew and spoke Mandarin and Cantonese. He appreciated nature and enjoyed kayaking, hiking and bird watching. Above all, he loved God and his Word.


Rob was predeceased by his parents George and Edna Penner, his father-in-law, Alan Williams, his eldest brother, Henry Penner, his brother’s-in-law John Oddy, John McRae and Paul Paxon, his sister-in-law, Mary Penner and his nephew, Brian Penner.

He is survived by his wife Joy, his sons Yik Wah (Penny) and Yik Man (Carmen), his two grandchildren Noah and Ruthie, his mother-in-law Fay Williams, sister-in-law Gail Penner, his siblings Ruth (Dick), Rudy, Edna, Mary, Linda (Ken), Carol, Della (Sal), Jim (Twylla), Gary (Cecilia), Rick (Cindy) and many nieces and nephews.

A service will be held at Willingdon Church, Burnaby on October 14, 4:00 pm. The live-stream link can be found at https://willingdon.org on the day

Rob was passionate about the sojourner, the marginalised, the refugee. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:





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Pages: 12

From: Bakerview Community Crematorium & Celebration Centre

Bakerview Community Crematorium & Celebration Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: James Cheng
Relation: Rob was my pastor from 30 years ago in HK. We had regularly bible study. Despite being separated by great distance over the past 20 years, we remain connected...

The Selfish me find it very difficult to understand that God has taken Rob so soon. Rob is not only my “crutch” in my life journey but he is also my “beacon” as I struggle to understand my life and my struggles. Rob’s work with migrant workers in China, one of the most downtrodden group in China is just one small reminder of Rob’s love for the under-privileged. Now there is a large gap in my life – lost a wise and Godly mentor and a great friendship… I am sure Joy and family will find the gap even bigger…

From: Eileen O’Connor
Relation: Family friend

Joy and family – what a gentle and I would say funny giant Rob was. He walked out “what Jesus would do” immensely. He will be missed – his impact will extend to his children’s children.

From: Carol Chan

Dear Joy,

I would like to express my deepest sympathy for the loss of Pastor Rob Penner. My prayers are with you and your family. May God blesses and comforts you all in your sorrows and pains.

I thank God for Pastor Rob’s life that he helped me kown God’s salvation in Jesus Christ and learn to walk in the journey of faith. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 ” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” Pastor Rob had lived out that life on earth and he is resting in eternal peace with the Father awaiting for the resurrection with all the saints at the Father’s appointed time.

May God’s assurance, His love and His presence be with you and your family always.

In Sympathy,
Carol Chan
GCC Olympic, HK

From: Myun Hwa Dunlop
Relation: Our pastor

Dear Joy,
We are so sorry to hear that pastor Rob has passed away.
Please accept our condolences.
We pray God may comfort and give mercy to you and all your family for the loss of your loved one.

But we believe that his spirit has been lifted up to heaven where no
pain and illness exist and he now enjoys peace, Joy and consolations next to Jesus Christ.

Pastor Rob has been an inspiration and a vehicle for our family to grow in Christ during our stay in Hong Kong.
He gave baptism services to Myun Hwa and Chin Hwa and inspired Michelle to pray for ECC
as an intercessory prayer.

We pray for God’s grace, mercy, comfort and wisdom to be put on you as you go through this difficult times.

In love,
Howard & Michelle Kang
Myun Hwa & Chin Hwa

From: Sum and Jesse
Relation: Church family

Rob was a wonderful Pastor at GCC, we all love and miss him. We are mourning his passing.

From: Edith Young Soares
Relation: Rob was my pastor at ECC and also at GCC

As I write this message, I see Rob’s gentle smiling face before me. This gives me much reassurance and I can almost hear his voice telling me that “All is well with me as I am with the Lord.” This is the Rob I know who was always so humble, approachable and friendly. His love for the Lord was evident in his dedication in his work for the kingdom and his caring heart for others. I am amazed by Rob’s language skills as he spoke fluent Cantonese and Putonghua which puts me to shame. I will miss you dear pastor, friend and brother. Praise the Lord that our path crossed in this journey. Our thoughts and prayers of comfort will be with Joy and your lovely family.

From: Esther Wai
Relation: Friend

Dear Rob,
Thank you for obeying God’s call to come to Hong Kong and for your lifelong dedication to us, the Hong Kong and Chinese people.

I am so grateful and thankful to God for knowing you in YWAM.
Your teachings in DTS and SBS have helped me to know myself more and draw me to get closer to God every day in my life.
You are not only teaching, but also showing a great example to me on how to follow God.
Thank you so much my dear brother in Christ.

I am sad to see you leave, but I know that one day we will see each other again in a better place where we can enjoy the presence of our Father God eternally.

Goodbye and love you lots.
Will miss you till I see you again.

From: Susan Ting
Relation: One of his many sheep

Rob and I started our journey in ECC, HK in the same year. My first encounter with Rob was when we both visited the same home group in the So family home one Friday night. Him visiting as a candidate to pastor the church, and me checking out the group and the church. Over the years in HK, Rob became to me who he is, in my view, best, a humble pastor and mentor who models a life following Jesus quietly, resolutely, faithfully, joyfully, earnestly. I “followed” him to Regent college because of his mentorship, to a different country and a different mission field. Meeting Rob literally changed the course of my life, geographically, spiritually, theologically, especially in what ministry means and looks like. Rob’s lasting legacy to me and for me to aspire to is his constancy in all circumstances and amongst all people (someone shared that at his farewell in HK years ago), his incredible humor (nobody takes me by surprise with a comment and break out in laughter like Rob can) and joy; his ability to keep what it means to follow Jesus simple and straightforward – despite his pursuit of high intellectual engagement and studies. That’s a gift! Thank you, Rob. See you on the other side, in your glory. Thank you Joy, Yik Wah and Yik Man, for sharing him with all of us.

From: Bing Chan
Relation: LPC congregation.

What an incredible life! What a blessing has Pastor Rob been to us. Rest in peace with Jesus. Peace and love to the Penner family.

Pages: 12

Service Schedule

  Memorial Service

Date & Time:
October 14, 2023
Beginning at 4:00pm

Willingdon Church
4812 Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, BC Canada

4812 Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, BC Canada

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

Thank You Notice

Send Flowers

Magnolias on Main
33253 1st Ave. Mission, BC V2V 1G6

All Tymes Florist
14567 – 72 Avenue, Surrey B.C.

Floral Symphony
Serving the entire lower mainland

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