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. Mike Irwin says:

    Only knew John a little bit in the early days of High School, my condolences to the family.Sounds like he lived a full life and was loved by everyone that knew him.
    Hopefully he was in little pain and suffering at his passing.
    Mike Irwin

  2. Dear Carol and Family,We are so sad to hear of John’s passing. I (Barbara) remember John from various IMS parties and gatherings. I particularly remember at least one class trip with John for science. John was do informative and so enthusiastic to share his love of forrestry as both an environmental cause and as an industry. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen the the lumber industry at work, and I’m sure this was true for the students, too.
    John will definitely be remembered with affection and respect for his family values, his work ethic, and his community involvement.
    May God’s blessings comfort you.
    Bill and Barbara Galler

  3. Carol and all of John’s other loving family members:It’s impossible to find words to express the comfort I wish I could send at this time. I didn’t know John, but I know how much he was loved and how intensely he will be missed. He was a very fortunate man to have a family and community that adored him, though that wasn’t due to luck; he created those circumstances through his own light, love, and compassion for others. As you navigate through the grief and begin to accept his absence, know that that community of people is still there for you to offer support, distraction, assistance, and most of all, love.

  4. So sorry to hear of your loss. Try and remember the good memories. They seem to help us through our grieving process. Also remember some of the hard times that make up his and your lives, they have made you stronger. Remember to make those wonderful memories with your family and friends. Sending Healing Prayers to John’s family and friends.

  5. The first time I met John was at a restaurant called Victorias in Hood Canal. I had never heard so many one liner quips from a guy I just met. That was back in 1990 and it only got better with John. Funny, hard working, fiercely patriotic and a total family guy that was John. Carol and John had more stories of places they had visited than anyone I knew. John loved to sit, chat and get to know the person across from him. A true rich life to be envied and a role model to follow. He will always be in our hearts and will be truly missed.

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