Claude Pensa

Obituary of Claude Marius Victor Pensa

PENSA, Claude Marius Victor died peacefully surrounded in his last years by family, on September 13th, 2023, at the age of 93.  Claude was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 46 years, Elaine.  He is survived by his children Christine (Blair Bowen), Victoria (Michael Stewart), Marc (Lisa) and Jonathan (Susan). Cherished Grandpa to his nine grandchildren, Emmett, Robert, Madison, Claudia, Allison, Emma, Monica, Francesca and Oscar and his great grandchild, Soultana.  He is predeceased by his parents, Philip and Enrichetta Pensa, his sisters Mary, Florence and Madeline, and his brother Philip.  He will be deeply missed by many other relatives and dear friends as well as numerous colleagues and those he touched in the London community through his volunteer efforts.  He leaves behind a legacy of achievements and cherished memories.

Son of Italian immigrants, he was born in London, where he graduated from the University of Western Ontario and then received his law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.   Returning to London, he began practising law in 1956 and co-founded the firm Giffen Pensa in 1962.  He was appointed Queen's Counsel (QC) in 1976.  In 1985 he expanded the firm to Pensa & Associates, which merged with Harrison Elwood to form Harrison Pensa in 1999. He served as President of the London and Middlesex Bar Association and was Chair of University of Western Ontario Board of Governors (1991 to 1993), where he also received an honorary Doctor of Law degree in 1998. In addition, he received an honorary diploma from Fanshawe College. He served on the Canadian Human Rights Panel then Tribunal from 1995 to 2001.  In 2007, he received the Law Society Medal from The Law Society of Upper Canada in recognition of his outstanding service within the profession, which he called one of his proudest career moments.  He spent six decades in the legal profession.  He valued the importance of mentoring younger lawyers and was viewed by his colleagues as a humble leader, an intellect with the highest level of integrity and compassion.

He had a passion for the law and justice, with human rights being a particular focus of his legal life.  Along with his late wife, Elaine, they co-founded London Lawyers Feed the Hungry and inspired the Pensa Lecture in Human Rights series.  He served the community in a variety of capacities.  He served on the Boards of Biotech London Council, the Heart Fund, the C.N.I.B. and Regina Mundi College. He fundraised for many organizations, including the Grand Theatre, The Boys and Girls Club and the United Way of London and Middlesex and was an active campaign organizer for the Liberal party for various candidates for public office. 

In his leisure time he enjoyed traveling, reading (everything), the theatre, music, and golf (into his 90’s).  Most of all, however, he loved spending time with his family at the cottage in Port Stanley, the lakeside village where he himself spent many summers during his childhood.  In fact, his first date with Elaine was at the Stork Club.  Since 1988 this has been a family gathering place full of year-round laughter and joy, whether playing games, celebrating, or just enjoying a Gin n’ Tonic on the porch.  His humour, charm and laughter will be missed.

Private family visitation and private funeral service, after which, friends and colleagues are invited to join the family for a memorial which will take place Sunday, September 24th from 2:00pm to 5:00pm at the Museum London, 421 Ridout St. North, London, ON.

Please CLICK HERE here to RSVP to attend Claude’s Celebration of Life, if attending. 

In memory of Claude, and in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to London Lawyers Feed the Hungry. 

Please CLICK HERE to donate to London Lawyer’s Feed the Hungry. 

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