George Louis Pennachi, 70, of Kissimmee, FL died suddenly on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at Florida Hospital Celebration Health in Celebration, FL. George was born October 8, 1947 in Newport, RI, the son of the late Dominic L and Jeannette Y. (Clement) Pennachi.
George was born and raised in the "5th ward" and attended St. Augustin's School for his elementary years. After graduating from Rogers High School class of 1965, George enlisted in the United States Air Force where he was trained in electronics and as a radio technician and repaired just about anything with a wire attached on B52s and other aircraft while stationed on the island of Guam during the Viet Nam war.
After his discharge from the Air Force, George returned home and immediately joined the Newport Fire Department in 1969. To become a firefighter was his childhood dream. George served for ten years as a line firefighter. He was promoted to Lieutenant of Fire Prevention in 1979 and found his niche in the Prevention Division. He was promoted to Captain of Fire Prevention and then promoted once more to become The City's Fire Marshal, retiring in 1996.
George thrived for education and almost never missed a chance to enroll in a school or attend a seminar and he would travel as far as it took to get there. During his tenure, George would travel to Emmitsburg, MD and stay on campus to attend courses and eventually graduate from the National Fire Academy. After returning from training with the ATF in Glynco, Ga he became a member of the earlier version of the RI State Bomb Squad.
While off duty and even after retirement from the Fire Department, George was an emergency scene photographer. From the time he was he was hired, he chronicled an extensive pictorial history of his brothers and sisters "on the job" from the late 1960s up until he could no longer focus a camera. He photographed many emergency scenes and in addition took thousands of investigative photos in order to help himself solve cases involving fire whether accidental or arson.
George was a charter member of the Special Signal Fire Association when he once outfitted an old bread truck with two way radios, lights, sirens and other mechanical equipment to effectively help build the first emergency scene rehab unit known as Canteen 1. He was a member of the International Fire Buff Associates, Inc., The International Association of Arson Investigators, The International Association of Bomb Technicians as well as a member of The Newport Firefighters Association - IAFF Local 1080 and was a past vice president of the Rhode Island State Firemen's League to name a few.
Ultimately, George was a fire buff, a collector of fire department memorabilia and a noted fire service historian amongst other interests. It was not uncommon for authors of books, magazines, articles as well as other historians, fire investigators, teachers or a guy in a bar to pick his brain on the subject.
After retiring from the Newport Fire Department, George decided to chase another one of his dreams. He moved to Kissimmee, FL and settled nearby his favorite place, Walt Disney World.
First things first, George enrolled in the Florida State Fire College and afterward became a certified Florida State Fire Inspector. While kicking around ideas of getting back into what he knew best, his big break came. George became an official "cast member" (Disney employee) and soon after, started training to become a monorail pilot. George would often entertain guests with his dry sense of humor and quirky one-liners. He enjoyed the happy fantasy of Disney World and what it represented. A child at heart, George was admired by his colleagues within the company and enjoyed his time as a monorail pilot almost as much as he loved his career as a firefighter. Often the guests, especially vacationing friends from Newport, would seek George out on the passenger docks when in Disney World to get a chance at a ride in the front of the cockpit and enjoy a good laugh.
George worked for the Disney Company from 1998 to 2009 piloting the monorail until his retirement. After his second retirement George returned to the beginning and almost full time he dedicated the rest of his days to his first project, his 1956 Oldsmobile Super 88. The Olds was his first car, purchased from an Air Force Colonel while stationed in Little Rock, AK in 1966. George fixed up, restored and customized the car. He and the Oldsmobile became a familiar site at Old Town theme park in Kissimmee. George drove the Olds in the "Friday Night Cruise" every week since he discovered the place. He and his 56 Olds earned many trophies and awards including "Cruiser of The Year" and the pride he had in that probably trumped all of his other accomplishments.
He is survived by his sister, Vivian J. Viti of Newport, RI, his niece Cassandra Towson of Apex, NC, nephews Phil Oliveira and Dominic Oliveira of Newport as well as several cousins. George leaves his extended family Ken Bulcao of Middletown, Stephen and Karry Ferri and their son Jeremy of Green Cove Springs, FL
Visitation will be held on Friday, January 26, 2018 from 4:00-7:00pm in the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport. His funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 27, at 11:00am in the Memorial Funeral Home. Burial will follow at St. Columba Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory Special Signal Fire Association, Post Office Box 25009 Providence, Rhode Island 02905.
JAN 26. 04:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Memorial Funeral Home
Newport, RI, US, 02840
JAN 27. 11:00 AM
Memorial Funeral Home
Newport, RI, US, 02840