Rayburn Pennington, 78, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., passed away January 10, 2016, at Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Mr. Pennington was born November 25, 1937 in Ripley County, Mo., to the late Homer “Boss” Pennington and Opal (McPheeters) Pennington.

Rayburn ventured out on his own at age 17, moving to St. Louis, to live with his uncle and aunt, where he learned the auto body repair trade.  After working in St. Louis for a few years, he moved back to Poplar Bluff, where he worked for a few body shops and car dealers in town.  During his career, he served as auto body shop manager at Blackwell-Baldwin.  After several years of working for other people, he decided to start his own business, Pennington Auto Body Inc. at his home.  There he built a shop and continued his career until the time of his death, (although he was semi-retired for several years).

Rayburn had some interesting experiences with cars over the years.  In the last few years he received a call from a person in Iran, requesting a paint job (but it never came to fruition). He also sold at auction, in Indianapolis, a 1979 Thunderbird, that is currently in Belgium.  Sometimes Rayburn would barter for paint jobs.  In the 1950’s he painted a car for a family Bible and in 1989 he painted a car for an electric organ, for a 30th wedding anniversary gift for his wife.

Besides auto body work, Mr. Pennington enjoyed photography, wood working, fishing, collecting die cast model cars, pocket knives and doing handyman repairs around the house.  The saying at the Pennington home is “Daddy can fix it”, because he could fix just about anything that broke at our home.

Rayburn was well known in the car show circuit and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with fellow car enthusiasts and seeing their cars and sharing in the excitement of displaying their cars.  They had a lot in common because most of the guys and or gals had restored their cars as well.  He was a member of the Yenko Super Car Club.

Rayburn proudly served in the Missouri National Guard for seven years. As a member of Westwood Baptist Church, Rayburn had served on the building committee as well as ushering.

August 27, 1959 he married Ernestine Morrison in Poplar Bluff, she survives.  Also surviving is a daughter, Brenda Jean Smith (Steve) of Jackson, Mo.; sisters, Juanita Peal and Mona Yates; brother, David Pennington; granddaughter, Stephanie Hardy (Boone) and one great-grandson, Flint Hardy.

Mr. Pennington was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Darrell Ray Pennington.

Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, January 14, 2016, at Westwood Baptist Church, 419 CR 5231, Poplar Bluff.  The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, January 15, 2016 at the church, with Dr. Steve Proctor officiating.  Burial will follow in the Poplar Bluff City Cemetery.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Westwood Baptist Church Building Fund.