John Gentry Penney

February 26, 1942 - April 07, 2018

John Gentry Penney

February 26, 1942 - April 07, 2018


John Gentry Penney was born in Chewelah, Washington on February 26, 1942. He was the youngest of six siblings including Madelyn, Jacqueline, Patricia, James and Gloria. Parents Bonta Gentry and Lillian Pearl (Wardell) Penney moved the family from Addy, Washington to the Spokane Valley where they raised John and his siblings.

John, age 76, passed away at home in Bow, Washington on April 7, 2018 after a year and a half of challenges with cancer. He was a loving family man and admired by all who knew him.

John and his high school sweetheart, Carol (Furness) Penney married on September 15, 1963. They met in kindergarten and attended schools together in the Spokane Valley. They enjoyed 54 1/2 years together full of love and adventures. Daughters Heather (Penney) Steele of Bellingham and Megan Penney of Maple Falls, and grandsons Zachary and Riley Steele were the pride and joy of his life.

He was a star basketball player at Central Valley High in Spokane and played two years at the University of Idaho. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity; earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1964 and worked as a forester for the Department of Natural Resources in Omak and Olympia. He helped develop the Timber, Fish and Wildlife Regulations while employed for the State Department of Revenue. John retired in 2004 after thirty successful, productive years as Property Tax Manager for Simpson Timber Company in Seattle. During that time, he served on numerous committees and worked with legislators and assessors for forest practices in Washington, Oregon, and California.

John and his loving family lived in Issaquah for thirty years where he was an active member in the community as a supporter of city development, public school activities and Camp Fire. For many years he was a classroom mentor for Junior Achievement, Project Business and Arbor Day. His support of youth and education continued in Bellingham with Robotics and STEM.

John was an admirable and confident strong leader, organizer and planner with sound judgement, wit and intelligence. He was a platoon leader in the U.S. Army National Guard as Second Lieutenant and later served as president of his class in the Agriculture/Forestry Leadership Program.

John was adventurous and curious. He and Carol traveled extensively. His favorite challenging experience was rafting through the Grand Canyon with family. He was happy being in the outdoors camping, hiking, gardening, chopping wood or driving his tractor with his buddy Patch dog by his side. He enjoyed the majesty of Europe and the wonders of nature. He was skilled at creating projects in his shop and building decks, benches, planters, and a greenhouse. “Mr. Fix-It” was his moniker. He was an avid reader interested in current events, history, and trivia. The Civil War was a focus.

Family was paramount to John. He was a tender, thoughtful and sentimental true gentleman. Generosity, honesty, integrity, and his easy-going personality were a few of his traits. He always saw good in a person and encouraged working for success. He had a magnetic personality and a “can do” attitude. Friends became like family. He was a positive influence loved and admired by many.

He is survived by his wife, daughters, grandsons, sister Gloria (Penney) Wash and her husband Charles, sisters-in-law Susan (Furness) Wood and JoAnn Penney, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Celebration of Life – Soar High with the Eagles

1:00 pm – Saturday, May 12, 2018

5399 Island View Way

Bow, Washington 98232

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to:

American Cancer Society

American Heart Association

Skagit County Humane Society

Celebration Of Life

  • Date & Time: January 18, 5122 (12:00 AM)
  • Venue: Family Home
  • Location: 5399 Island View Way Bow, WA 98232 - (Get Directions)

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20 responses to John Gentry Penney

  1. what an amazing write up. dang fine man.

  2. John Gorman says:

    John was not only tall in statue but in deeds as well. He was the key expert we turned to for advice and guidance on taxes.
    John was always a delight to be around. I will miss his warm smile and great sense of humor. Like everyone that knew John, I will cherish the fond memories I have of him.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s wonderful family.
    John & Bev Gorman

  3. I am saddened at John’s passing. I remember him well from high school, he was a basketball star and I was in marching band. At least half of the girls in high school had a crush on John, including me but I would never have had the nerve to even say hello to him. One day I was racing to class while the bell rang and as I rounded a corner in the hallway I ran full speed into John with books flying everywhere. As we both began picking up our books John stopped and helped me gather mine. I was awestruck to be face to face with my hero. He smiled and we both said “sorry” at the same time. I was blushing and couldn’t say more than “thanks” as we each hurried to our respective classes. I was on cloud 9 for the remainder of the day and have remembered that day forever. John is in the hands of our Lord now. It is so good to hear of his life, his family, and his success as the good guy from our high school years. May God bless him and bring peace to his beautiful family.

  4. Melody Kvam says:

    Carol, Heather and Megan,My heart breaks for you, I know how close you all were and are. I feel blessed to have known John. He was a fantastic father, philanthropist, friend and fun loving man. He was so knowledgeable on so many subjects. I missed having him live in Issaquah.
    My wish for you is to find peace and comfort in this journey ahead.
    Love, Melody

  5. Pam Gray says:

    Carol and family,I am so sorry to hear about John.
    Holding you close to my heart.
    Pam Gray

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