Rev. Pentz had a 'heart for the hurting' in Waynesboro area

July 04, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. -- A Waynesboro preacher and author known for his work in the deaf community and outreach to the elderly has died. The Rev. Croft M. Pentz was 77.

"Kids to senior adults, they just loved him. He was a people person all the way," said the Rev. Dwan N. Newsome, who worked with Pentz at Calvary Assembly of God.

Family and colleagues said Pentz gave up aspirations to play professional baseball when he enrolled at Central Bible College in Springfield, Mo.

"When he got the calling, he was in high school when it happened," said his brother, George Pentz.

While studying theology, Pentz took a course in sign language, which launched his decades of work with the deaf in Arkansas, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He died of natural causes in Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center on Wednesday.


"He's done a little bit of everything. He was even the deaf interpreter for a couple of Billy Graham crusades back in the '60s," said his nephew, Larry Pentz.

That effort with Graham, an evangelist, led to Pentz being featured in TV Guide, Newsome said.

Pentz would later end up in publications, like devotional magazines and weekly newspaper columns. He authored 30 sermon outlines, prepared gospel tracts and worked on several books, two of the better-known ones being "The Complete Book of Zingers" and "1,001 Things Your Mother Told You."

Newsome described Pentz as a witty person with a great sense of humor. His nephew recalled one of Pentz's common jokes:

"Where is baseball mentioned in the Bible?" Larry Pentz asked. "In the beginning, Eve stole first, Adam stole second and God threw them out."

After 42 years with the church he established - The Calvary Chapel of the Deaf in Elizabeth, N.J. - Pentz moved back to Waynesboro in the mid-1990s.

"This was his home, and he came back here," George Pentz said.

Pentz joined the staff of Calvary Assembly of God on Snider Avenue, focusing on ministry to senior citizens. Newsome said his colleague "literally made several thousand visits a year" to nursing homes and hospitals.

"He had a large place in his heart for the hurting," Newsome said. "He just shared with me that many of them had been forgotten by family and friends."

Pentz's life will be celebrated during services at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Calvary church, with several officiants including the Rev. Carl J. Colletti, district superintendent for the Assemblies of God.

"Underneath the humor was a really caring person. He loved people," Newsome said.

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