Paul Baldwin Penny

Paul Baldwin Penny of Lawrence, Kansas, passed away before dawn on October 28, 2017, where his wife, four sons, and one daughter had been in nearby rooms in his home earlier in the evening.

Funeral services will take place at First Christian Church in Lawrence on Saturday, November 4, at 10 a.m. A graveside service will be open to the public at Memorial Park Cemetery following the ceremony.

Paul was born on July 27, 1925, in, according to what he recently found out, Burlingame, Kansas. His parents had been married in Lawrence, but the family would occasionally move from town to town as his father did concrete jobs. In his younger days, Paul would work at farm work, construction work, as a swimming pool lifeguard, and other odd jobs. He graduated from Lawrence High School in 1943. In about July, 1943, Paul was drafted into the U. S. Navy and cruised aboard the U. S. S. Shamrock Bay, an aircraft carrier that travelled to Casablanca and the Panama Canal a few times and then went into combat situations off of the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. He left the Navy in about March, 1946, as a signalman first class. He went to the Lawrence Business College; Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas (where he played football and studied art); and the University of Kansas on the G. I. Bill. He was married on November 20, 1949. He later graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University on February 26, 1952. The family later moved to Wichita so that he could work as a production illustrator at Boeing in about 1954. The family moved again to east of Lawrence, then lived in Lecompton, Kansas, between 1956 and 1968, where he was originally in charge of Rock, Inc., which was associated with Penny’s Ready-Mixed Concrete; later working at FMC; Hamm, Inc. construction; Deem’s Farm Equipment; and other odd jobs, meanwhile developing his talent for oil painting, selling numerous works of art. The family moved to Lawrence again in 1968, and Paul continued to pursue oil painting and odd jobs.

He liked hunting and fishing, sometimes consuming frogs, snapping turtles, and road kill. He used family vacations as a source for many of his paintings, as well as depictions of local scenes and portraits. He exhibited his work regularly at the annual Lawrence Art in the Park. He also exhibited at the Crown Center Art Show in May, 1974, and at the Wind River National Art Show in Dubois, Wyoming, in July, 1975. He was also listed in Who’s Who In American Artists for a few years.

He had had a relationship with First Christian Church since childhood, and when living in Lawrence, tended to attend more often than not.

He went on one last family campout vacation in 2007 and exhibited locally one last time in 2014.

He was preceded in death by his father, Myrl Nuzum Penny, the founder of Penny’s Ready-Mixed Concrete Company, Incorporated, in 1957, his mother, Addie Underwood Penny, an oil painter who was a 1915 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Fine Arts who passed away in 1985, his brother, Junius Myrl Penny, who had lived in Lawrence and Emporia, Kansas, his brother, Stanley Dean Penny, of Lawrence, Kansas, a confusing number of cousins, in-laws including Dale Bruce, Shari Reed Schaefer (former wife of Stanley), Patricia (Riordan) Penny and Lila Penny (wives of Charles), Duane Cowan, Harry Spencer, nephew Kevin Charles Penny, and niece Lisa Shawn Cowan.

He is survived by his wife, the former Virginia Rae Alburty, his sister Margaret Penny Bruce, now living in Wichita, Kansas, his brother Charles Nuzum Penny, now living in Glendale, Arizona, his sister Lois Penny Cowan, now living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a few Penny and Underwood cousins including Lawrence Penny, Rebecca Martin, Marlene Underwood Masingkey, and Joanie Underwood Whitenight, in-laws including Mary Lou (Nelson) Penny (widow of Junius), Theo (Westlund) Penny (former wife of Stanley), Bill and Betty Alburty (now living in Leawood, Kansas), Harrison Madden (a former psychology professor at Fresno State University), and Marion Maxine (Alburty) Madden Spencer (a violinist living in Monterey, California), his son Alan Dean Penny, now living in Lawrence, Kansas, his son Michael Paul Penny, now living in Lawrence, Kansas, his son Gary Russell Penny and his wife Rita Marie (Jackson) Penny, now living in Central, Utah, his son Christopher Ray Penny, now living in Lecompton, Kansas, Melissa Lynn (Penny) Swanson and her husband Edward Wallace Swanson, who have worked with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Colombia and Mexico, but have been staying near Walnut, Illinois, recently, at least 11 nephews, at least 11 nieces, the families of those nephews and nieces, 1 great-grandson, and 2 great-granddaughters.

Visitation will be at 7 p.m. Friday, November 3, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence.

Memorials may be made to the Paul Penny Memorial Fund or Wycliffe Bible Translators (for Mexico training) and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

16 Condolences

  1. Fred Shirk on October 30, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Virginia,Gary,Alan, Micky, Melissa and Chris, what a loss, will really miss Paul. I worked with him at the old FMC plant. We hunted turkey, mushroom, frogs, ducks, fished for catfish, cut firewood together, we both love the great outdoors. He never ever mention trying to teach me to paint like he could do with ease. Guess he seen me enough to see that there was no talent in me for painting. Will miss you very much ole friend. R.I.P

  2. Leah Harriman Rurode on October 31, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I remember when I first saw Mr. Penny’s art, my dad had introduced me to it hanging in HyVee. My dad had known him and admired his work. I especially liked his painting of a beautiful colorful garden. The day I decided to purchase the garden art piece I gave him a call. He invited me to the home and when I arrived we both went to the basement. He unlocked several doors that held so many beautiful paintings, and then I saw the garden painting, the one I was going home with. He gave me a seat and told me to take my time and not rush, I was going to live with it for a long time. He told me to pick the painting that made me feel something. After an hour or so, not sure of how long, I made my purchase. It was not the garden painting, that painting was of his own back yard. I proudly display in my home Mr. Penny’s magnificent piece of the north side of Union Depot in North Lawrence. The one that shows two railways and the sidewalk my sister and I walked to school on every morning. My dad’s childhood train is also displayed with it. That day, in that basement, I actually knew what it felt like to be moved and spoken to by a true master’s art.

  3. Patsy Quinlan/Morse on October 31, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    I am sad to hear of Paul’s passing. My memories of him go back many years. He and my dad, Joe Quinlan, and many more family members experienced many events together. He was such a character. I have several pictures he painted. The Buck Creek school House is on my wall at this time. My mother requested him to paint it. Very special. I am sure his entire family will miss him so much. Did anyone get to go frog hunting with him? Prayers to the family.

  4. Marge Bayer on October 31, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Virginia, I am sorry to hear of Paul’s passing. I hope you are sharing many good memories with your family.

  5. Bryan Wyatt on October 31, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    So sorry to hear of Paul’s passing. I cherished my growing up on Ohio St. living across the street from the Penny’s for 18 yrs. After more than 35 yrs, I not to long ago got to spend some time with Paul, Virginia, Micky and Alan at the Ohio home. It meant a lot to me to spend this time with Paul. Great man, nieghbor and friend. My condolences to all the Penny family for your loss. Paul’s memory lives on in his paintings and our hearts of the wonderful he was! RIP Paul Penny…

  6. Suzie Craig on October 31, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    It was an honor to know and love Paul, as a member of our church family and as an artist. His paintings preserve many Lawrence sights and feelings of our history. A truly talented man who shared his love of art with those of us who are also lovers. I am so fortunate to have known him. Hugs Paul. RIP
    Thinking of you with love and sympathy Virginia.

  7. Linda and Mick Shilts on November 1, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your father, Melissa. He led an interesting life and made a significant impact with his talent, it sounds like. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May God give you peace & comfort at this difficult time.

  8. David Holroyd on November 1, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Always a pleasure to see Paul and his wife Virginia at McDonalds. I recall buying a painting of his at an auction and inquiring about it. He carefully recalled the painting and recounted the experience.

    Paul is an example of the past. the good people of Lawrence, which I doubt will repeat itself in the future. A pleas!ure to have known him

    David Holroyd

  9. Addie Bruce Seabarkrob on November 1, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    So sorry to hear of Paul’s passing, he was a sweet uncle to me though I learned not to always believe his stories literally. He had a flair for story telling and enjoyed entertaining others with his imagination as well as his many memories. We had so many great times with the big extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles growing up, such a great gift of life and love and laughter. Love the “confusing cousins” addition in the obit, but I loved the clatter and teasing and games generated by the life energies. His life will be well remembered by many of this circle of
    family which will continue with his spirit sprinkled liberally throughout. His passion for life, Painting, and tomatoes will bubble up with love.

  10. Charles McPheeters on November 2, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Paul, you were the “All American Good Ol Boy”
    You are going to be missed at the art fair and coffee time.
    We cut lots of wood for the fire place. Many lawrence homes felt the warmth of your efforts. Tomatoes from your backyard and mushrooms from your spring hunts will be remembered as long as I live.

  11. John Shidler on November 2, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss but confidence in the Lord will be your strength. I
    am praying for your family during this time fo sorrow and – happiness to know that absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

  12. Dennis and Kathy on November 2, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, You willingly gave Yourself up to death so that all people might be saved and pass from death into a new life. Listen to our prayers; look with love on Your people who mourn and pray for their dead brother.

    Lord Jesus, You alone are holy and compassionate; forgive our brother his sins.
    By dying You opened the gates of life for those who believe in You; do not let Paul be parted from You, but by Your glorious power give him light, joy, and peace in heaven where You live for ever and ever. Amen.

    We miss you Paul.

  13. Nancy Kuenn on November 3, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Dear Ed and Melissa, My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. I’m so sorry for your loss. I pray for comfort and peace for you as you navegate this time. Sending love and prayers, Nancy Kuenn

  14. Ron & Jane Metzger on November 4, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Dear Ed and Melissa, Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time in your lives. May the God of All Comfort be with you and your family. The Lord is able, for sure! Much love in Him, Ron and Jane Metzger

  15. Tom and Judy Branks on November 5, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Losing your Dad is one of life’s rites of passage…the man who was your first love and looked after your best interest all of his life. May our Heavenly Father comfort you and give you peace knowing your Dad is with Him.

  16. Michael and Betty Smith-Mitchell on November 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Virginia, Alan, Mickey, Gary, Chris, and Melissa,
    So sorry to hear of Paul. May each of your be blessed with peace and comfort at this time knowing one day you all will be reunited. Sending our thoughts and prayers.

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