Phi Kappa Sigma

John P. Penhune ’57

John Paul Penhune, 87, passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 6, 2023. He was born February 13, 1936, in New York, NY, to his loving parents, Paul and Helene Penhune. John attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his Bachelor of Science (1957) and Doctor of Philosophy in Electronics Engineering (1961). John also had fun. Almost always the smartest in his class, he especially had great pleasure revitalizing a classic Jaguar convertible and driving it around the MIT campus for all to admire.

He went on to serve as an MIT assistant professor and technical staff member at Lincoln Lab until 1966; supervisor radar group, Bell Tel. laboratories, Whippany, New Jersey, 1966-1968; assistant director, Advanced Ballistic Missile Defense Agency, Washington, 1968–1969; president, Concord Research Corporation, Burlington, Massachusetts, 1969–1973; independent science consultant, Carlisle, Massachusetts, 1973–1979; board directors, Physical Dynamics Inc., La Jolla, California, 1979–1981; senior vice president for research, Science Applications International Corporation, San Diego, 1981–2012; independent consulting 2012–2018. John is recognized as a national defense asset across his technical fields, a mentor to dozens of coworkers and a science company executive, electrical engineer by Marquis Who’s Who.

In later life, John applied his systems-engineering skills to restoring three tired recreational boats of lengths 30, 50, and 80 feet, to top physical and mechanical conditions. Motoring from San Diego to Catalina Island many times with family and friends in tow. Also, John motored 50-foot Allons-Y from San Diego to Seattle (1,000 nautical miles) and the 80-foot Empress from San Diego to Portland, both safely up the Pacific Coast in challenging weather. John took care of all the things outside the boat and the engines. Marcellite took care of matters inside the boat, making sure all guests were safe and well cared for.

His family will remember him as a man’s man. He valued hard work, honesty, and the value of a man’s word. To his children, he was loving but fair. He made sure to instill his values in them as well as the importance of their education. To his wife, he was loving and caring, they enjoyed family, friends, holiday parties, remodeling the La Jolla home, traveling around the world, boating, opera, chamber music, Old Globe, visits from the grandsons, and for the last five years, living on Maui. He had been a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, and was a member of the San Diego Yacht Club.
John is survived by his loving wife of 37 years, Marcellite, as well as his children Virginia Penhune, Sarah Penhune, Marcellite Lasensky; and two grandsons Matthew Willam Klien and Phillip John Lasensky.

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