Graveside services for Lawrence D. “Mike” Penny, age 96, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 10, 2020 at Memorial Park Cemetery in Lawrence. Mike died October 2, 2020 at Presbyterian Manor. Mike was born May 1, 1924, to Corban L. and Myrtle E. Penny on his family’s farm near Effingham, Kansas. At the age of seven, the family moved to a farm in Douglas County where he attended a rural grade school. Mike graduated from Liberty Memorial High School in 1942 and was inducted into the U.S. Army. Mike very proudly served with a Combat Engineer Battalion in the European theater during World War II.
Following his return home, he enrolled at the University of Kansas and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in 1950 and accepted a position in social work at the Boys Industrial School in Topeka. While there, he completed the requirements for a Master’s Degree in Social Work at K.U. and received his MSW in 1955. He served in various capacities at the Topeka facility, later known as the Youth Center at Topeka, until his appointment as Superintendent in 1969. He remained in that position until 1979 at which time he accepted a position at the Youth Center at Atchison. Mike retired in 1989 and returned to Lawrence.
During his years of working with youth, Mr. Penny was involved in many local, regional and national service and professional organizations. He was a charter member of the Sunrise Optimist Club in North Topeka and its President in 1967-68. He was a charter member of the Atchison Optimist Club. He was also a member of the Lawrence Breakfast Optimist Club. He was a member of the Topeka Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Kansas Conference on Social Welfare and the Kansas Council on Children and Youth. He was on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Training Schools and Juvenile Agencies, its National President from 1971 to 1973 and recipient of its Donald G. Blackburn Presidential Award in 1996.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his 3 brothers and sisters-in-law Jim (Margaret) Penny, Bill (Mildred) Penny of Lawrence and Lowell (Betty) Penny of Ames, Iowa, and his sister and brother-in-law Rebecca (Fred) Martin of Kansas City, KS. Mike is survived by numerous nieces and nephews. He was an avid sports fan, especially KU sports, and he loved spending time with his family.
Mike will lie in state from noon – 6 p.m. on Friday, October 9, 2020 at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence.
The family suggests memorials to the First United Methodist Church of Lawrence or the Big Brother/Big Sisters of Douglas County, sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.