On Saturday, September 24, 2022, Kurt John Penney, loving husband, father, and Pa, passed away at the age of 69.
To distill Kurt Penney’s life down to a few paragraphs seems nearly impossible. He approached life full of love, curiosity, and enthusiasm and it showed in all that he chose to do. He cared deeply about his family, friends, and neighbors and always provided an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on. A man of quiet faith, he grew closer to God throughout his ALS Journey. One who was always up for an adventure, big or small, there weren’t many dull moments.
Kurt was born on March 13, 1953, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Jill and Bill Penney. He was raised by his mother Jill Penney Jackson, stepfather Max Jackson (dad), and his much-loved grandparents Harry and Faye Baxter. He spent his freshman year of college in Lincolnshire, England at Harlaxton College (a campus of the University of Evansville) where he took classes and lived in the Harlaxton Manor. This was a year he cherished for the rest of his life. On September 18, 1976, he married the love of his life Nancy Kay Houghton of Dunedin, Florida. They had two sons—Adam and Luke. He was considered a full-fledged member of the “Houghton Clan” and loved by all his “in-laws.” He received his associates degree in Forestry from Haywood Community College in 1978, and then worked for Champion International at a tree nursery in Swansea, South Carolina, before going back to college to get his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of South Carolina where he graduated in 1988. He worked in the railroad industry for the next 27 years, beginning and ending with “The Switch,” designing, selling, and manufacturing crossing and rail yard equipment across the United States and in countries around the world. Post retirement he became a full time Pa, his best gig yet.
“Blessed are the curious for they will have adventures.” – Lovelle Drachman.
And adventures he had. Through family trips and work he landed on six continents, watched the sunrise on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, paraglided through the Swiss Alps, skied the High Sierras, watched the sun at midnight in Alaska, caught piranhas in Venezuela, hang-glided over Rio De Janeiro, climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, strode on the Great Wall of China, and hiked many miles through his beloved southern Appalachians. He shared his joy of travel with his family and friends. He took his family on countless unforgettable trips filled with adventure, laughter, shortcuts, silliness, wildlife, whitewater, cows, deer, ticks, bears and many more memories. Trips were not only a family affair--many trips included “the boys” and their friends spending weekends at the cabin, whitewater rafting, camping, etc.
Kurt and Nancy have a great group of steadfast friends with whom they have enjoyed the adventures of raising kids, everyday life, and travel. Kurt’s biggest adventure was his family, and the greatest gifts to his family were being present and principled. He loved his family (and friends) and was involved in all aspects of his children’s life. As a dad he threw or kicked many a ball, wrestled with the boys (and grandkids), hunted, etc. In 2010 he became “Pa,” which created more joy in his life than can be summed up in words. He loved his four grandkids—Calvin, Alice, Baxter, and Parks—with all he had.
Kurt was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Dave Penney. He is survived by his wife Nancy of 46 years, by his son Adam (of Columbia, SC) and his wife Theresa and their children Calvin and Alice, and by his son Luke (of Greenwood, SC) and his wife Carson and their children Baxter and Parks; brother-in-law, Eric Houghton (Becky); sister-in-law, Ann Houghton; sister-in-law Amy Houghton Guthrie (John B.) and their children, John (Rachita), Thomas (Adrea and their children Zoey, Brooks and Tate), and his sister Julie Jackson.
Many thanks to all the wonderful friends, family, and medical professionals who showed us what it means to be loved.
Please join us in celebrating the life of Kurt Penney at Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church, in Lexington, South Carolina, where he and Nancy are members, on Sunday, October 2, 2022. Visitation with the family will be at 1:30 p.m. and the funeral service will be at 3:00 p.m. Mt. Horeb is at 1205 Old Cherokee Road, Lexington, South Carolina, 29072. Barr-Price Funeral Home and Crematorium, Lexington Chapel, is assisting the family.
“Live Life to the Fullest” - KJP
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial contributions to the ALS Association.https://donate.sc.als.org/give/421479/?_ga=2.97512735.1684000898.1664211787-413887485.1664211787#!/donation/checkout
Special thanks to Lighthouse Hospice (Stephanie Daniels & Teresa Davis), Right at Home (Ashley Holland), Solutions for Living at Home (Molly Schaubroeck & Kayla Kerr), and Lillie Debreceni his friend & care giver.
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