Lethbridge businessman Jim Penny passes away

Jim Penny, a huge name in the Lethbridge community has passed away at the age of 96. Penny was the past president of the Lethbridge and District Exhibition in the mid-eighties.

Penny and his wife Hazel were originally from Saskatchewan and devoted their careers to developing restaurant franchises in both Canada and the U.S. They ran Dairy Queen franchises in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Idaho and Washington State.

In 2012, the Penny family gifted the Capital Furniture Building to the University of Lethbridge. It is now known as the Dr. Foster James Penny Building in honour of their son who passed away at the age of 44 from ALS or otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Lethbridge and District Exhibition CEO Mike Warkentin said Penny helped lay the groundwork for the exhibition that we know so well today.

“He built the North Pavilion. And so it or he was very instrumental, I should say, in making sure that the North Pavilion got built. And so it was always very refreshing to talk to him. And over the past couple of years, we haven’t had as much opportunity, but he always stayed connected and always wanted to know what was going on here. And we’d chat a couple of times a year, but nothing but respect from our organization for what he did. And he ultimately was one of the key figures in paving the way for the Exhibition of the future and where we’re going as an organization.”

Penny is also credited for bringing the first Taco Time to Canada back in 1978. Warkentin says flags at the Lethbridge and District Exhibition have been lowered to half-mast in his honour.

Micah Quinn

After graduating from Mount Royal University in Calgary with a Broadcasting Diploma, Micah made the trek down to Lethbridge to work for Bridge City News. He has previously worked at City TV Calgary on the Breakfast Television morning show. He looks forward to connecting with this community, and reaching a new audience. Micah has a passion for interviewing and finding out why people think the way they do. You’ll often find him pursuing local feature stories and hard news.

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