WINDHAM – Toby Pennels, a longtime Windham resident who served 11 years on the local school board, helped organize the Sebago Lake Ice Fishing Derby and served two tours in Iraq, died early Thursday morning from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash, according to the family.
Pennels, 55, had moved to Casco in October 2013. He was injured in early August as he and friends were riding back from Rangeley. He was struck by an oncoming truck after losing control on a corner in wet conditions. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Pennels was listed in critical condition at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston but never regained consciousness. He was transferred to a hospice facility earlier this week. He leaves a wife, Brenda, to whom he was married for 31 years, and three children, Taylor, Jordan and Shawn.
Posting on www.caringbridge.com, Brenda Pennels wrote: “My beautiful husband passed away peacefully at 12:15 this morning at the Hospice House in Auburn. We were with him when he drew his last breath, holding his hands and letting him know that everything would be Ok. I am comforted knowing that his Dad and my Dad were waiting for him and welcoming him to heaven. I cannot possibly express my gratitude for the love and support we have received from our local community here as well as friends around the world. Please continue to pray for Taylor, Jordan and Shawn, Toby’s Mom Debbie, his sister Melissa and her family, that we may all feel his presence in everything we do. I love you Toby, Rest in Peace.”
Several weeks before the accident, Pennels had declared his Republican candidacy for the state Senate District 26 race against Democrat Bill Diamond. His name was withdrawn in late August due to his condition.
Pennels was well known in the Lakes Region, volunteering for several community organizations. He served as president of the Windham Veterans Association and was a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Windham. He also served as chairman of the annual Sebago Lake Ice Fishing Derby, which is operated by the Sebago Lake Rotary Club, of which he was a member for 13 years.
Pennels attended Casco Junior High School, was a graduate of Windham High School and Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in finance. He owned a financial management firm, Penn Investment Services, and, according to his biography on his state Senate campaign page on Facebook, was running for office on a pro-business and welfare-reform platform “to repair the Maine economy.”
Retiring as an Army colonel after 30 years service, Pennels’ military service included six commands including Brigade Command in Baghdad during the troop surge of 2007, three combat tours with 32 months in combat zones, and 35 awards and decorations including Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars and a combat action badge.
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