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. Dearest Carol, Megan Heather and boys,
    No words can convey our heartfelt thoughts about John, to you Carol, Heather Megan and grandchildren. With gratefulness for all your friendship, love, kindness towards us and many other friends. John was a beacon of light to many around him. We remember him with fondness the times we spent with all of you, sledding, bonfires and snow, cleaning off tables for students, going to Cle Elum, Christmas parties, concerts. We thank your for being great neighbors in Issaquah. Bless you as your memories take you forward on the next journey.

    Love you immensely,
    edie, david, michelle and danielle

  2. Erin Bowman says:

    I’ll never forget being so far from my family for the first time, and Megan’s Dad making me feel like a part of his family whenever we visited~ I looked forward to his jokes, his tearjerker thanksgiving prayers, and his nurturing demeanor in general. You girls are so blessed to have John Penney for a Father- he has certainly imprinted on my heart. Love and peace to you all.

  3. John will always be remembered in our hearts! From his pithy little sayings (something about where to find sympathy in the dictionary?) to his great big hugs, from his always helpful advice to his endearing humanness we will smile always when we think of him. Love, Sue and Greg

  4. I worked with John for many years at WFPA, as the Tax Committee chair. I will always remember his smarts, quick wit and calm presence during some very challenging times dealing with tax issues. I vividly remember photos of John and Dick Junk, former WFPA tax staff dressing up in duct tape jackets and posing as the Blues Brothers, or pretending to rob a bank, among others. He was a character and added flair to a topic that some may not find exciting. My thoughts and prayers are with John’s family, he will always shine bright in my memory and as a big contributor to the success of the timber industry.
    Cindy Mitchell

  5. Ted Tp;; says:

    Sorry to hear of John’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. He was one of the good ones!

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