Nathan William Penny

Nathan William Penny
October 11th, 1973-August 10th, 2020

Nathan William Penny, 46, Lawrence, KS, passed away August 10, 2020 at his residence.

He was born October 11, 1973, in Emporia, KS, the son of Marlene VanGundy Penny and William Junius Penny. He graduated from Lawrence High School in 1992, and the University of Kansas in 1997 with a B.S. degree in Business Administration.

Nate had a passion for sports and was an exceptional athlete. He was a part of 3 state championship football teams at Lawrence High in 1989, 1990, and 1991. He was a 2-year starter on the ’90 and ’91 teams and earned all-state honors as a linebacker his senior year. He was also a letterman on the Lawrence High track and field teams that won state championships in 1990 and 1991.

Nate later earned a scholarship to play football for the University of Kansas. He was a part of the team when the Jayhawks won the Aloha Bowl and also played in the Kickoff Classic. His teammates from high school and college football became his lifelong friends.

After graduating from the Lawrence Public Schools and KU, Nate had the opportunity to live on both the East coast and West coast. He cherished the friends he made while living in Ojai, CA.

Nate worked for Penny’s Concrete for many years. He helped coach football teams in Ojai, Baldwin City, and at Lawrence High. This was one of the many ways that Nate gave back to the community. He enjoyed coaching and encouraging young people in their pursuit of football, as being involved with football brought him much happiness.

Nate had a deep faith and was able to connect with others on a personal and spiritual level. He often reflected on and wrote inspirational thoughts that he shared with others. During the summer in his college years, he was a camp counselor at a Christian athletic camp. Later, during his years in California, he enjoyed attending the Ojai Valley Community Church and working with the summer youth camps. Nate was currently involved in a weekly men’s Bible study in Lawrence.

Nate was a great communicator and expressed his feelings with his eloquent writing and conversations. He was genuinely interested in other people and put everyone at ease with his quick wit and great sense of humor.

Nate expressed his thankfulness for life in a post on July 26, 2018. “Words cannot even come close to the love I have received from people who have helped me during the last two months. On May 16, 2018, I flatlined from a heart attack (cardiac arrest) in the parking lot of Hy-Vee at 23rd and Kasold. After my time and excellent care from Doctors and staff at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and KU Medical in K.C. I am back by a miracle that will never be explained in this lifetime . . . I haven’t put the timeline together of how long I was dead before the paramedics defibrillated me. I will live my life with a Grateful attitude and start with thanking [God] and those who love me before anything else. Much love my friends. To be continued-Love wins!”

Nate loved the Lawrence community, and so many who knew him loved him, too. To quote Nate from his post on December 8th, 2019, “I often use Sunday afternoon to rest and reflect on my gratitude for life. Being 46 years of age I’ve lived on both the east and west coast of the USA and am happy to have that experience. Often times I would get the ‘do you have a dog named Toto’ or have I seen fireflies. With all being said we may not have the mountains or ocean here in [Lawrence]-we do have some of the best people on this planet. Never forget that when you look a Kansan in the eyes and shake their hand or hug each other. We are Kansas! Love wins…”

Nate was preceded in death by his grandfather, Junius M. Penny, and his grandmother, Emma Lou Rains VanGundy.

Survivors include his parents; grandfather Wayne W. VanGundy; grandmother Mary Lou Nelson Penny; sisters Laura Penny Hedges (Bryan); Sarah Penny Smith (Wyatt); brothers Jonathan Penny (Kim); Scott Penny (Sarah); 7 nieces and nephews: Faith Hedges, Will Hedges, Sawyer Smith, Grady Smith, Alexandra Penny, Ava Penny, and James Penny.

Burial services for Nathan will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday August 22nd at Oak Hill Cemetery. With social distancing in place, and masks being required, family and friends are welcome to attend in person or while listening to the service from their vehicles on a radio station provided by Warren McElwain mortuary.

The family suggests memorials to the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Intensive Care Unit or KU Endowment, with a note on the memo line to the Nathan W. Penny memorial. These may be sent in care of Warren McElwain mortuary.

48 Condolences

  1. Roy and Suzy Hawley on August 12, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Marlene and Bill and family,
    We are so very sorry about the passing of your dear son and brother Nathan. He was always so respectful and kind. He was such a handsome guy with a beautiful smile. Our hearts and love go out to all of you.
    Roy and Suzy Hawley

  2. Steve and Randi Lutz on August 12, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    Bill, Marlene and family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  3. Reece E. Wiley on August 12, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    I am absolutely speechless. What a good kid. May God bless you at such a tough time.

  4. Matt and Julee Travis on August 12, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    Prayers of comfort for you during this time. We were so fond of Nate and know how much he will be missed.

  5. Mark Gonzales on August 12, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    Bill, Marlene and Family,

    Some sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during these times. God bless.

  6. Linda J Wiley on August 12, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Bill, Marlene and families
    I am so sad to hear of Nathan. Hugs to all and my sincere condolences.

  7. Christina D Hardin on August 13, 2020 at 3:01 am

    I am so very sorry for your loss. My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family.

  8. Christina D Hardin on August 13, 2020 at 3:02 am

    I am so very sorry for your loss. My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family.
    Nathan has a heart of gold and so many of us from Ojai will never forget him and his amazing personality.

  9. Bob & Shirley Brandt on August 13, 2020 at 11:31 am

    It is so heartbreaking to hear of Nate’s passing. We always enjoyed visiting with him when we would run in to each other and so many fun memories of the boys while growing up. You are all deeply in our thoughts and prayers for peace and comfort at this very painful time. His loss will be felt by many, may his spirit fly high.

  10. Curt & Marilyn Hall on August 13, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    To the Penny Family,
    We are so sorry to hear of your lose. Please know you’re in our thoughts and our prayers are with you.

  11. Chance, Courtney, and Hudson Murdock on August 13, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    This is such sad news; our sincere condolences to the family. We were fortunate to be getting to know Nate in the past couple years. What an authentically kindhearted person. A gentle spirit in this world. We will miss our conversations and hanging out with him. Our thoughts and prayers to the family.

  12. Kitsy Gray on August 13, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Please accept my sincere condolences at the loss of your dear son. I’m praying that you will feel the Lord’s Peace and Comfort through the love of those who care.

  13. Linda L Trotter on August 13, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    I was so sorry to hear of Nathan’s untimely passing. Nathan went to school with my girls and was our neighbor in Hutton Farms before we moved. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during difficult time.

  14. Ron and Jane Garvin on August 13, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Words are never enough at a time such as this. Your precious family is in our prayers. God bless you with His strength and peace.

  15. Jim and Linda Lewis on August 13, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    We were so sorry to hear about Nathan. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and all the wonderful memories. He was always so very nice and friendly with that great smile.

  16. Miles and Ginger Franz on August 13, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    We are deeply saddened to hear of Nate’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

  17. Doug and Kathy Gaumer on August 14, 2020 at 6:22 am

    Bill and Marlene,

    Kathy and I send our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Nate was a great young man and he will be missed. We pray that God’s love and the fond memories of Nate bring you peace.

    All our love,

    Doug and Kathy Gaumer

  18. Mike & Barbara Malone on August 14, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Bill, Marlene, and family,

    We are so sorry for your loss. We are blessed to have known Nate. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  19. Julie Dunlap on August 14, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Marlene and Bill,
    We are so sorry for the loss of the light embodied Nate, he always brightened every encounter. We are sending you many prayers for peace.

  20. on August 14, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Penny family-

    On August 10th the world lost an outstanding man. Nate was a leader, hard worker, good listener, humble and he never forgot where he came from. I am sorry for your loss.

  21. Carl and Joyce Burkhead on August 14, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Bill, Marlene and Family: Reading through the heartfelt condolences reminds us of how loved the Penny family is and the hope of those writing them that their thoughts will bring healing to your broken hearts. Our prayer is that the God of all comfort will bring His healing balm and peace to your family. In Christ’s love, Carl and Joyce Burkhead

  22. Becky Mondi on August 14, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Bill, Marlene & family..
    My sincere condolences in the loss of Nate. My prayer is that God’s great comfort and peace will cover you all & hold you close in the difficult days forward. My heart aches with you.
    Much love to all of you.
    Becky Mondi

  23. Rebecca Ryan on August 14, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    To The Penny Family
    Words cannot begin to touch the depth of this grief .
    May Peace and Comfort abide within your hearts.
    So very sorry to learn of your loss.

  24. Betty Currie on August 15, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Dear Penny Family, We are sad to hear of the passing of Nathan. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve the passing of your son, Nathan. There are no words that can comfort you that we can say but please know that we care about your family at this difficult time of loss. We can’t begin to imagine what heavy hearts and emotional pain that you are having. We knew Nathan from LHS. With our deepest empathy. Mark and Betty Currie

  25. Chuck and Karen Warner on August 15, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Nate’s passing is a tragic loss. I still remember watching him playing soccer in grade school with my son Mike. Although some of the kids seemed destined to become lawyers because they wanted to argue all of the calls that went against them, not Nate. He simply tended to business with a competitive focus and determination. Our thoughts are with you all as you deal with this grief.

  26. Leslie McCaffrey on August 15, 2020 at 11:35 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. I am thinking of all of you during this difficult time, thankful that you have such a wonderful support system to keep you afloat as you navigate through this.

  27. Harriet Shaffer on August 15, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    To the entire Penny family, I extend condolences on the loss of your son and brother Nate. Please know I send my prayers and thoughts for all of you. Harriet Shaffer

  28. Maggie Kruger on August 15, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    This is such sad news, so very sorry for your loss. Prayers and heartfelt sympathy sending to your family. May you find comfort in your memories of Nathan.

  29. Bob and Patty Skahan on August 15, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Dear Bill, Marleen, and Family:
    I am deeply saddened to hear about Nathan. Patty and I are praying for you and may our Lord’s presence be with you and your family.
    Bob and Patty Skahan

  30. Carmiletta Penny on August 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Dear Bill, Marlene and Family,

    Our hearts and prayers are with you all. I am sure that this early loss of such a great son and brother is overwhelming. Words cannot express the depth of your loss. May the Lords peace and comfort be with you all as you remember all the good times together and the impact he had on so many. Children are a blessing from the Lord. Nathan’s time here on earth was far to short but you will see him again in heaven. As King David said at the death of his son ” I shall go to him but he shall not return to me” . Our hope is in heaven. Love in Christ, Carmen

  31. John Esau on August 17, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Sending my love and condolences to the Penny family and the tremendous network of friends who loved and cared for Nathan. Wishing you peace and light in the days ahead.

  32. Warren and Linda (McCullough) Wood on August 17, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    Dear Marlene, Bill, and Family,
    Our hearts ache for your loss. Praying for the repose of Nathan’s soul and for God’s comfort to all of you.
    Warren and Linda (McCullough) Wood

  33. Ashley (Masoni) Huber on August 18, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Thinking of your family at this time. So sorry for the loss of this beautiful man. My you somehow find peace and solace during this time.

    With love and prayers,
    Ashley (Masoni) Huber (was on the rowing team with Sarah at KU)

  34. Rick & Zina Bryan on August 18, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Bill and Marlene,

    We are so sorry to hear of your loss. You are both in our thoughts and prayers during these difficult times.

  35. Bob McCulley on August 19, 2020 at 8:27 am

    My heartfelt condolences go out to Bill, Marlene, your family and many friends. Although I never met Nathan I know he was a fine young man, having such fine parents. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  36. Anthony R Parsons on August 19, 2020 at 11:27 am

    To: William “Bill” Junius Penny husband/father, & Marlene VanGundy Penny wife/mother.

    I’m very sorry for your loss of your very succesful son Nathan William Penny (46).

    I know what its like to lose a child. God Bless to all of the other family members.

    1968-1969, I’m sure you don’t remember me Bill I’m Linda Parsons older brother Anthony Richard Parsons.

  37. Phyllis Lewin on August 19, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Dear Marlene, Bill and family,

    You are all in my thoughts. Each of you holds a special place in my heart. Learning about the loss of Nate is incredibly sad. May the memories of all he is/ was comfort you as well as the love of family and friends.
    Warm thoughts are going your way.

    Phyllis Lewin

  38. JoAnne (Hansen) and Alan Kerschner on August 19, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Dear Marlene, Bill & Family,

    We were so sorry to hear of the passing of your son, Nate. It is difficult to fathom just how difficult it has been for you. One does not expect to lose a child at that young age. We wish you peace as you go forward. As time goes by, you will recall all the good things, all the funny things. May the next weeks/months be kind to you.

  39. Jan and Gene Huston on August 20, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Remember that day nearly 30 years ago when we were cutting wood down behind Mike and Sharon’s house? Nathan was the topic of conversation since he was the up and coming Lawrence High School star, and I remember how proud you were of your fine son. It is with sorrow that we send our condolences to you and your family, Marlene and Bill. Please know that we hold you in our prayers.

  40. Tim Smith on August 21, 2020 at 11:22 am

    To Marlene and Bill and the whole Penny family. It is some comfort to know that the heavenly Father feels with us and weeps with us today. But God has promised that the best is yet to be. Nate’s earthly tent was taken down and he has entered his eternal home not made with hands. That which was mortal has been swallowed up by life (2 Corinthians 5:1-4). Nate got there before us, and we rejoice for him. He ran the race well; of course he did, he’s a Jayhawk! We send you our love and hold you in our prayers! Tim and Rita Smith

  41. David and Linda Lawrence on August 21, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    To Bill, Marlene , and family
    We are so saddened and shocked to learn of the loss of Nate. You will all be in our prayers . Nate was such a kind, likable, loyal, and helpful young man. It pains me every time the thought passes through my mind that he is no longer with us. May Gods love and Holy Spirit be with you all at this time and in the future.❤️????
    David and Linda Lawrence

  42. Douglas and Shannon Cloud on August 22, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Bill and Marlene
    I am sorry to hear of your loss .May God be with you and your family .
    Doug and Shannon Cloud

  43. Don and Beverly Gardner on August 22, 2020 at 9:25 am

    So sorry to hear about Nate. Red Dog always talked about how much he liked Nate and about him playing football.

  44. Rhnae Blackburn on August 23, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    Bill and Marlene
    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of the loss of Nathan. He was a fun-loving toddler with a big infectious smile when we lived up the lane from you.

  45. Elly Claussen on August 25, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Bill & Marlene-

    I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your son. I’ll keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    Elly Claussen

  46. Debbie Mills Shafer on August 27, 2020 at 8:42 am

    Harry and I are saddened to hear about ur loss.
    Please note you and the family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  47. Robert and Susan Herrington on September 1, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Bill and Marlene,

    Susan and I are saddened by your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  48. Craig Ridenour on October 18, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    Bill & Marlene,

    Patty and I recently learned of your loss and send our sincere condolences to you and your family. May God’s comfort and grace in Christ be with you in special ways during this time.

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