March 14, 1989 ~ November 11, 2008
Peter McGonigle Wenner (PJ), 19: Beloved son, brother, grandson and friend
March 14, 1989 - November 11, 2008
Many believe that an obituary's intent is not necessarily to pay tribute but to help those who remain to discover meaning and peace while reflecting on the life of the deceased. At first glance this appears especially difficult considering PJ's death seems so unjustified: he was only 19 years old, dearly loved by so many, and offered incredible potential to bring an exponential amount of joy to the world. However, despite such a brief life and seemingly unfair death, it is apparent his life is clearly a success.
On November 8, 2008, PJ was sailing an Aussie 18-foot skiff for the first time off the coast of Waikiki with members of the varsity sailing team from the University of Hawaii when the boat capsized and PJ was critically injured.
In spite of this great tragedy, it brings comfort to the family to know that prior to the accident PJ's friends had never seen him so happy-sailing downwind with the chute up, out on the trap, skipping over waves at 23 knots. PJ passed away Tuesday November 11, 2008, surrounded by family, friends, and Jesuit priests at the Straub Hospital ICU in Honolulu, Hawaii.
His mother Susan always believed PJ's relatively painless birth at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, CA on March 14, 1989 set the precedent for her relationship with him and his interaction with everyone he encountered-always quick to comfort and bring happiness. PJ was the middle child in a family of four boys each thirteen months apart: Chris, Billy, and Matthew, the youngest.
He graduated from St. Anastasia's Catholic elementary school in 2003. While at St. Anastasia's he was an alter server and began racing on the California Yacht Club (CYC) Junior Racing Team. As a member of the CYC sailing team, he received the Zimbert Sportsmanship award, was elected Junior Commodore and awarded the highest perpetual award at the yacht club.
He then attended Loyola High School where he graduated in 2007. He was a proud bench warmer for the freshman football team where he quickly learned that no matter how hard he tried, not everyone was meant to be a football player. He continued sailing on the CYC sailing team and joined the Loyola sailing team. PJ truly enjoyed the time he spent at Loyola and the friendships he made. His most memorable experiences were his Senior Service Project and his Kairos Retreat. Both St. Anastasia and Loyola built a foundation for PJ to continue to develop his relationship with God, for which he was truly grateful.
Following graduation from Loyola, PJ attended the University of Hawaii to compete on their top-ranked varsity sailing team. PJ was one of the few freshman skippers to compete for the team on the varsity level. While on the sailing team he made some of his best friendships and touched everyone he encountered.
While PJ's life was short, he lived each and every day to the fullest: he was competitive, loving and kind. It is truly rare to find such a special person-someone who was so happy and who shared that happiness with everyone. He was genuinely a man for others and his love will never be forgotten.
A Rosary and viewing will take place at 7 p.m Monday November 17, 2008 at St. Anastasia's Catholic Church in Los Angeles. Funeral services to be held the following morning at 10 a.m at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Peter McGonigle Wenner scholarship fund at Loyola High School.
PJ is survived by his parents Susan and Peter Wenner; brothers, Chris, Billy, and Matthew Wenner; grandparents Virginia McGonigle, Barbara Wenner, and Robert Wenner; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
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