Theo Mae Westlund Penny was born on November 4, 1931 in Topeka, KS and left this Earth peacefully in her sleep, on December 6, 2020 from The Windsor of Lawrence, KS.
Growing up in Topeka, Theo graduated from Topeka High School in 1949. She attended Bethany College in Lindborg, KS in 1950. She graduated from Ottawa University in 1953 and was a member of Sigma Iota Psi sorority. She then attended the University of Kansas, obtaining an MS in Education in 1960, with a focus in Speech and Hearing.
Theo was active in theatre and drama during her high school and college years.
She taught Sophomore English and Speech Therapy at Ottawa High School and was a speech therapist at the University of Kansas and Lawrence schools.
She was married on June 26th, 1954 to Stanley D. Penny of Lawrence, KS.
Theo was a long time member of the EA Chapter of PEO.
Her work history also included owning and managing rental property, working at The Jones Store, The Turquoise Shop, the University of Kansas Preschool, and the Lawrence High School attendance office until she was diagnosed with Dystonia (Spasmodic Torticollis) in 1984, a disabling neurological disease.
Theo loved to have fun and would quote Dr Seuss’s “It’s fun to have fun but you have to know how”. Playing bridge, needlepoint, painting, poetry, family history, spending time on the computer and traveling were some of her favorite hobbies. Her Swedish heritage inspired a trip to Sweden and a love for all things blue and yellow. Jazz Music was a big part of her fun and she was known to dine with Count Basie, Jay McShann and others.
She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Edmund C. Westlund and Ella V. (Lindholm) Westlund, her brother Merrill L. Westlund, and her former husband, Stanley D. Penny.
Survivors include her son, Dean W. Penny and wife Sheri Penny, of Lawrence, KS, her daughter, Kirsten “Missy” Penny and husband Jeff Allen of Lawrence, KS, and four grandchildren: Kristin Penny and fiancé Cole Frye, Michael Penny, Nicholas Allen and Christopher Allen. Survivors also include her brother’s widow Elaine and current husband Jon London and their children Kim, Tod, Peggy, and Elaine and Jon’s son Alex.
No services are planned at this time. Her remains will be scattered in Sweden at a later date.
Per her request, donations may be made to Unity of Lawrence Church c/o Rumsey Yost.
Messages & Condolences
I am sorry for your loss. May Theo rest with Jesus! She was a kind and helpful lady. She was a comfort to me at many times.
Theo introduced me to ‘dramatic readings’ during a 1st Christian Church Bible School class one summer. Little did I know Dean would be a student of mine as well as a friend. She was a good woman. We need more like her.
Your family is in our thoughts and prayers
Dean and Missy, We loved your Mom and will miss her and the good times we had just being with her. Prayers. Elaine and John
Missy and Dean, I have some great memories of your mom and what a special lady she was. Sending you and your families our love and prayers.
I am sad to hear about Theo passing. She has been a wonderful friend for 30 years. I won’t forget her advice and friendly support.
Missy and Dean – I thought the world of your mom and have some great memories of visiting with her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Missy I am so sorry to hear about your Mom. I have so many memories of her when we were younger. Prayers to you during this time🙏❤️
Missy and Dean, My deepest condolences on the loss of your mom, prayers to you and your family.
You are in our thoughts and in our hearts. We share your grief and mourn Theo’s passing while giving thanks for the blessing of long life and family that she enjoyed.
Alex, Tracy and the London family
My Dear Cousins, Kirsten and Dean:
I love you and love your mom, my Aunt Theo! I have always felt a closeness to her and to you-all, despite living across the country from one another. My prayers for you are for comfort, courage and peace during the difficult days that lie ahead for you. May God hold you close during the hard times, and show you mercy and love to ease the sadness; in Jesus’ Name I Pray – AMEN! Love and hugs! Kim (London) Miller
Missy and Dean, my understanding love and sympathy are with you at this time. Theo was my precious cousin and dear friend. We loved reliving memories of our trip to visit relatives in Sweden several years ago. I miss her, and hold these memories tenderly in my heart. My prayers for peace and comfort are with you and your loved ones.
Theo was such a special lady! I always enjoyed my visits with her. My deepest sympathies on her passing.
Dean and Missy, Your mom was one of kind. The world will have less laughter and smiles without her. You have my deepest condolences, with love.
Missy and family, I’m so sorry to hear that your mom passed away. Prayers for you and yours. 🙏🙏🙏
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