TRIBUTE TO VENOY EDWIN PENNY
Submitted by Bill Scott, Class of 1961
The Sanitary Dairy pictures that Linda Holt provided sure were appreciated. My first inclination was to look for a fellow named Venoy Penny. He was the first one listed. I met Mr. Penny in the summer of 1999. He passed away on January 27, 2005, and I felt compelled at that time to jot down my thoughts in a tribute to Mr. Penny. That tribute is appended.
TO VENOY EDWIN PENNY
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Venoy Edwin Penny died January 27, 2005 at his home in Minden, LA. I read his obituary today in the Shreveport Times. He was 78. He will be buried tomorrow in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Minden.
I met Mr. Penny in the summer of 1999. He was 73 that summer and I was 56. I had been on a trip to my hometown in MS to visit relatives and get started doing some genealogy research. My own Mom and most of her brothers and sisters had passed away in the 1980s and 1990s and I wanted to document our family history before even more deaths occurred. On my return trip to my home in TX I stopped in Minden to visit the graves of an Uncle, Aunt, and first cousin who are buried in the Garden of Memories cemetery. This is a medium sized cemetery, but at the time of my visit there was no easy way onsite to find out where certain folks are buried. I wasnt having much success in finding the graves I was looking for, and was getting sunburned walking around in the hot summer sun. I decided to move my car to a parking spot under some shade trees on the backside of the cemetery and rest in the shade a bit before continuing my search.
Several other cars were parked at various spots throughout the cemetery and different folks from those cars were scattered throughout the cemetery. Gradually all of the folks returned to their cars and left the cemetery. All except one car. I was puzzled by that since I hadnt seen anyone exit or enter the car, and I didnt see anyone else in the cemetery. Within a few minutes the car started moving toward where I was parked. Soon I was able to see the person driving the car, but had no idea who it was. My first thought was perhaps it was someone who performed security for the cemetery. When the car stopped an elderly gentlemen got out and asked if he could help me find who I was looking for. He was dressed in slacks and a shirt rather than a security uniform so I asked if he worked for the cemetery. He said no, but that his wife was buried in the cemetery and that he came out often times to spend time with her. His frequent trips to the cemetery had helped him become familiar with many of the graves in the cemetery. I accepted his offer and he was able to direct me to the general area where my relatives are buried. However, we couldnt find the grave for my first cousin.
We went back to the shaded area and began to talk. I introduced myself and he introduced himself. Of course, I asked if he was related to James Cash Penny, founder of the Pennys Department Stores. He grinned and said he wasnt. He mentioned that he had been born in east TX and I believe he said he worked during the early part of his life for the railroad. However, at some point he had settled down in Minden.
We talked for the better part of an hour about a variety of topics and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mr. Penny had a sweet spirit about him. Unless you have met someone like that, you may not know what I mean. He was the kind of person you couldnt help but like, and would want as a life long friend, or a neighbor.
As I prepared to leave, I mentioned to Mr. Penny that I sure wish I could have found my cousins grave. He told me he remembered when my cousin had died and that he was sure he was buried fairly near my Uncle and Aunt. Mr. Penny then suggested that he and I go to the Rose-Neath Funeral Home in downtown Minden and ask them to check their records for information on where my cousin was buried. I followed him downtown and together we went into the Funeral Home. He found someone on the staff he knew and told him what we wanted. He looked in their records and confirmed that my cousin was buried next to his parents. I had seen a space next to their graves, but didnt think of it being my cousins grave because it didnt have a tombstone at that time.
With that mystery being solved I planned to continue my journey west. I thanked Mr. Penny for all his help, told him how much I had enjoyed our conversation, and said goodbye. As I headed to my car I felt compelled to turn around and ask Mr. Penny to let me take his picture. He graciously agreed and I snapped a photo of him standing in a shady spot near some trees on the Funeral Home property. The picture turned out great and I later sent him a copy at his daughters home where he lived. I never got a response from him. Im not sure why. His obituary mentions he suffered from Alzheimers. Perhaps that had gotten worse by the time I sent the photo and he didnt remember me. But I remember him, and his graciousness to me. I thank the Lord for bringing folks like Mr. Venoy Edwin Penny into my life, even if for only a few brief moments. Im confident Ill be able to enjoy the pleasure of his company again some day.
Venoy Edwin Penny
4, 1926 - Jan. 27, 2005
MINDEN, LA - Funeral services for Venoy Edwin Penny will be held at Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Minden on Sunday, January 30, 2005. Family visitation will be Saturday.
Mr. Penny was born March 4, 1926 in DeKalb, Texas. He entered into rest Friday, January 27th at the home his daughter and son-in-law, where he had resided for the past 8 years. Mr. Penny bravely fought a 14 year battle with Alzheimer's disease and a 2 1/2 year battle with cancer. During his entire illness, he characteristically never mentioned the word pain, or questioned what illness he was suffering from. He was a very, quiet, private, unique, reserved man, who faced death in the manner that he had lived.
Mr. Penny had been a Christian since boyhood, but was not publicly baptized until 1952, becoming a member of Gilgal Baptist Church. He moved his membership to First Baptist Church of Minden at the time of his daughter's baptism there.
Mr. Penny was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Julia Mitchell Penny; his parents, Joe and Rozelia Penny; brother, Bill Penny and sister, Mary Jo Hines.
He is survived by his daughter, Judy Jones and his son-in-law, Marvin Jones; one sister, Evelyn Arterbury; three brothers, Emory Penny and wife Ann; Dewey Penny and Eddy Penny and wife Betty; one uncle, Clayton Garrett, and many nieces and nephews.
Mr. Penny was a veteran of WWII where he served in the United States Army's 345th Engineering Battalion in Italy. Mr. Penny was employed by Sanitary Dairy, serving in various capacities there for over 40 years.
Serving Mr. Penny's pallbearers will be Rickey Arterbury, Bobby Black, Carl Hines (of Texarkana), Leslie Hines, Derek Penny, Don Penny, Glen Penny, Steve Penny and Charles Turman.
Following services, burial will be at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Minden.
Minden, LA 318-377-3412
Published January 29, 2005
Thanks to Tommy Carey about the Medical opinion regarding lead levels in Baby Boomers. It also occurred to me that a favorite summertime activity of many of us was picking buckets of Dewberries along the site of the road where the bushes were tainted with gasoline fumes. Hmmm good. And eating them right out of the bucket unwashed sometimes. I also recall seeing lead levels of men who worked at Gould Battery which were quite high.
Eve Baskerville, Clas of 1964