Pengilley, Ronald Ernest (1917–1989)
By Lester Devine
Originally trained as a secondary history teacher, a career long Adventist educator, Lester Devine, Ed.D., has taught at elementary, secondary and higher education levels and spent more than three decades in elected educational leadership positions in two divisions of the world Church, NAD (1969-1982) and SPD (1982-2005). He completed his forty years of denominational service with a term as director of the Ellen G. White/Adventist Research Centre at Avondale University College in Australia where his life-long hobby of learning and presenting on Adventist heritage issues became his vocation.
First Published: July 17, 2020
Ronald Ernest Pengilley gave forty-six years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific Division. He is best remembered as the manager of the Signs Publishing Company in Victoria for almost eighteen years (1962–1980).
Early Life and Education
Ron Pengilley was born into an Adventist home on July 15, 1917 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, one of two children of Ernest and Mabel Pengilley.1 He was baptised in Brisbane, Queensland in 1932.2 On completion of his secondary education, Pengilley attended the Australasian Missionary College (commonly known as Avondale) in 1935 and 1936. He graduated from the Business Course and commenced his denominational service in December 1936.3 He was appointed as a clerk in the Sanitarium Health Food Company (SHF) factory on the Avondale College campus.4
On December 2, 1947 Ron Pengilley married Fay Carol Rigby, who had been born in Melbourne on October 12, 1926.5 Two children were born into the family: Delmae Carol and Colin Donald.6
Pengilley continued in his clerical work at the SHF factory on the Avondale campus until 1939 when he transferred to Christchurch, New Zealand where he became assistant accountant at the Papanui SHF factory. In March 1942 Pengilley transferred to the Brisbane SHF factory in Australia, where he was also assistant accountant, continuing in that role for several months until August of that year when he was enlisted into military service which continued until August 1946. Released from his military service, Pengilley returned to work with the SHF, this time as assistant accountant for the company at Windsor, Victoria. From November 1946 until April 1956, he was an accountant at the Signs Publishing Company at Warburton, Victoria, before becoming the secretary and treasurer of the South New South Wales Conference.7 He held that position he held until 1962. From 1962 until August 1980, Pengilley was the manager for the Signs Publishing Company back in Warburton, Victoria. He had been appointed to this position after the sudden death of Pastor Carl Ulrich, his predecessor.8 This long period of leadership is the role for which Ron Pengilley is most remembered. From August 1980 until his retirement in March 1981, he served as the business manager at Avondale College. In all, including the service credit for his years in the military, Ronald Pengilley gave 46 years of service to the work of the Church.9
Twenty-eight years of Pengilley’s service were with the Signs Publishing Company, initially as accountant then as manager, which in its uninterrupted length was quite unusual in the denomination at the time. Pengilley believed in continuing education for during his working life he gained two of the public accounting qualifications of the time, A.A.S.A and A.C.I.S.10
Ronald Pengilley’s retirement was short as he died suddenly at his home on May 4, 1989 and, survived by his wife and children, he was buried in the Avondale Adventist Cemetery.11
“Another chain of moves . . . .” Australasian Record, February 13, 1956.
House, Murray. “Ronald E. Pengilley Life Sketch.” Record, July 1, 1989.
Marrickville, New South Wales Australia. Certificate of Birth for Ronald E. Pengilley, son of Ernest L. and Mabel E. Certificate of Birth, Reg. Number 34306, 1917.
New South Wales Australia. Certificate of Death for Ronald E. Pengilley, son of Ernest L. and Mabel E. Reg. Number 103756, 1989.
Parr, R. H. “Ronald Pengilley obituary.” Record July 1, 1989.
Pengilley, R. E. “Signs Publishing Company.” Australasian Record, January 7, 1963.
Ronald Ernest Pengilley Biographical Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: “Pengilley, Ronald Ernest.” Document: “Biographical Information Blank.”
Townend, W. A. “Avondale Profiles the Man with the Millions.” Australasian Record, August 17, 1981.
Marrickville, New South Wales Australia, Certificate of Birth for Ronald E. Pengilley, son of Ernest L. and Mabel E, Certificate of Birth, Reg. Number 34306, 1917.↩
Ronald Ernest Pengilley Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, Folder: “Pengilley, Ronald Ernest,” document: “Biographical Information Blank.”↩
Murry House, “Ronald E. Pengilley Life Sketch,” Record, July 1, 1989, 13.↩
Ronald Ernest Pengilley Biographical Records.↩
“Another chain of moves . . . ,” Australasian Record,” February 13, 1956, 8.↩
R. E. Pengilley, “Signs Publishing Company,” Australasian Record, January 7, 1963, 16.↩
Ibid.; House, 13.↩
W. A. Townend, “Avondale Profiles the Man with the Millions,” Australasian Record, August 17, 1981, 7; R. H. Parr, “Ronald Pengilley obituary,” Record July 1, 1989, 14.↩
Parr, 14; New South Wales Australia, Certificate of Death for Ronald E. Pengilley, son of Ernest L. and Mabel E., Reg. Number 103756, 1989.↩