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Developer, journalist David Pennington dies

From staff reports

David Pennington of Rochester, a former Post-Bulletin journalist who was deeply involved in making and recording the history of Olmsted County, died of cancer Sunday at Saint Marys Hospital.

Pennington, 78, was born and grew up in rural Rochester. The family farm, the F.J. Pennington farm, occupied most of the land bordered by U.S. 52 to the west; 55th Street to the north; old King's Park Road (now 18th Avenue Northwest) to the east; and 37th Street on the south. Much of that land was eventually annexed by the city and rezoned for residential and business development.

A co-manager of Pennington Properties in the 1960s and 1970s, he was involved in many business development projects in northwest Rochester.

In 1964, he sold some of the property to St. Pius Church for future school and church needs. He built apartment complexes, including the Broadmoor Apartments. In 1971, construction began on Pennington Business Park, just east of U.S. 52. Universal Ford, the first tenant, opened in January 1972, and was joined by Viking Olds and Adamson Motors in 1973.

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Pennington was also a journalist. He worked at newspapers in Mason City, Iowa; Rockford, Ill.; Winona; Duluth; and St. Paul. He worked 17 years for the Post-Bulletin, where he was a sports editor, area editor and copy editor. He worked for the P-B in the 1950s before leaving to become an editorial assistant for products publication at IBM. He returned to the P-B as associate editor later in 1965 and worked until September 1972.

In 1973, he joined the development department at Mayo Foundation, where he worked until retiring in 1992. At Mayo, he played a leadership role in producing publications and working with many Mayo benefactors. He was instrumental in establishing the Hall of Benefactors in Mayo's Siebens Building.

Pennington was president of the Olmsted County Historical Society in the 1990s and later was special events chairman. He organized the Yaggy-Colby History Lecture Series in 2000.

He also was active in planning Rochester's sesquicentennial celebration last year. For years, he and his wife, Pat, were leaders in the annual Oakwood Cemetery Walk that included re-enactors from the community's history.

A complete obituary appears elsewhere on this page.

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