Obituary of Zachary Lloyd Pennisi
Born in Boise, Idaho on October 14, 1991, Zachary was the quintessential Idaho boy with an affinity for the outdoors. Whether he was hiking, camping, skiing, motorbike riding, or white water rafting, if there was a thrill to be had, Zachary was all in.
In 1997, the family moved to Eagle, Idaho on acreage where he and his siblings had plenty of space to spread their wings. In grade school, Zachary joined Cub Scouts and then crossed over to a newly formed Scout Troop out of Eagle Elementary. There he made new friendships and enjoyed outdoor adventures with his dad and brother, especially summer camps in McCall and Stanley. Moving up the ranks, he and most all the boys were awarded their Eagle Scout, of which he was very proud.
During middle school, Zachary joined the year-round Rocky Mountain Redfish swim team. His lanky body and long limbs contributed to his success in the pool and swimming was the perfect outlet for his abundant energy. Coach Joe reinforced the values of hard work and discipline and often dished out the dreaded “wall sits” if anyone was caught slacking off!
Zachary attended Meridian Tech Charter High School and enjoyed competing with the swim team at Eagle High. He graduated MTCHS with a year of college credit, earned credits at College of Western Idaho, but never quite took to the structure of formal education. He learned by doing and was guided by his curiosity to research many topics including military history – a passion both he and his dad shared.
Zachary was the consummate computer geek. From a very young age he took to the computer. Mostly playing games, but also learning how the technology worked, giving him a foundation in which to later build several ‘hot rod’ desktops. He was like many other kids his age, seemingly unafraid of using the computer for everything, and as the technology broadened into phone technology, he was glued to that screen, and used it for everything he was interested in. There wasn’t much he didn’t know something about.
Much of Zachary’s life was spent around construction and logging machinery. He was always looking for opportunities to run it, and learn the purpose of each piece. During the heyday of the fracking craze in 2013, he left for Watford City, North Dakota to put his skills to use. He spent two years there as an equipment operator/mechanic, working and living in tough conditions (small travel trailer with no facilities) that sent many packing soon after they arrived.
Zachary inherited Grandpa Yale’s old school work ethic. With his skills and knowledge he had no trouble finding employment and working hard, no matter the job. He intuitively knew how things worked, especially anything mechanical or electrical. The people he worked for always complemented him (and his parents) on his knowledge and work ethic.
After coming back to Eagle, Zach hauled machinery with a heavy haul truck/lowboy up to the fires in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, and California, and operated logging equipment used to clean out roads and make fire lines. All these experiences made for memorable stories, such as the time a fire unexpectedly changed direction and swept up the mountainside so fast the crew had to abandon their equipment and flee for safety. They were fortunate, no one was hurt but four pieces of machinery and a pickup burned up in the blaze.
Despite all Zachary’s talents and quirky ways, his life was plagued with adversity. He struggled to free himself from an addiction that began many years ago with prescribed pain medication. He never stopped trying to better himself and put his past behind him. In the spring of 2022, he moved to Heber City, Utah where he found a welcoming community and many friendships at Wasatch Crest. As he transitioned out of the program, he quickly found employment but affordable housing options were scarce. He found a temporary home in an old travel trailer, harkening back to his days in North Dakota. Sadly, on October 31, he relapsed and God called him home.
Zachary’s lasting legacy was his nonjudgmental nature and tender heart. We are better people for having known Zachary. He taught us of the healing power of forgiveness, the need for compassion towards others and to place our hope in God’s great mercy and His abundant redemption.
Zachary leaves behind a heartbroken family: his father, Stephen; mother, Kathy; siblings: Ethan, Hadley, and Natalie; as well as a large extended family who loved him dearly. His family is so grateful to all those who took the time to know him, to love him, and to give him a chance.
The family has received an outpouring of support after losing Zachary. Many of his friends, co-workers and acquaintances have come forward with stories about his humor and caring demeanor. Quite a few have shared how Zach’s positive attitude and influence helped them turn their lives around. The irony is that he could not always care for himself.
To honor Zachary’s life, his parents are establishing the “Zachary Lloyd Pennisi Memorial Fund” through the Idaho Community Foundation; the fund will benefit people who are seeking to recover from addiction and attempting to reclaim their lives. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the fund in Zachary’s memory, or to a local charity that supports that mission.
A link to the memorial fund can be found here:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” ~ Teddy Roosevelt
To watch a livestream of Zachary's service please visit:
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Zachary Pennisi, please visit Tribute Store