John Boccanfuso, affectionately known as Penrith’s ‘Pen Man’, has died

John Boccanfuso was a regular fixture at Westfield Penrith.
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John Boccanfuso, who became a regular fixture at Penrith Plaza for decades, has passed away.

Boccanfuso became known as the ‘pen man’, selling more than one million pens for charity for almost 50 years from his stand in Penrith.

The Penrith character was in a serious accident at 12-years-old that left him with brain damage. He would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

John Boccanfuso, Amanda Barnes and Graeme Banks at Westfield Penrith in 2018.

In 1974, disability charity Aruma (formerly known as House with No Steps), arranged for John to sell fundraising pens in Parramatta. He quickly moved to Penrith, his home for the next half a century.

For years he worked seven days a week selling his pens, leaving the nursing home that would become his residence for many years to work between 10am and 2pm.

He has been in ill health for some time and hasn’t been spotted at Westfield for several years.

John Boccanfuso selling pens in 1988. Photo: Penrith City Library.

Boccanfuso received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2012 for his service to people with a disability.

He was also named among Westfield Penrith’s Local Heroes in 2018.

News of his passing has touched the Penrith community, with hundreds of tributes on social media.

A funeral service will be held at the Christian Community Church in Cambridge Park on Wednesday, July 10.

Troy Dodds

Troy Dodds is the Weekender's Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia's leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.

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