Celebration of Life
Obituary of Ruth Penney
Ruth Penney, a homemaker, mother of four, grandmother of seven, and great-grandmother of two, passed away while vacationing in Florida on Saturday, June 1, 2019. She was 91 years old.
Ruth was born in Chelsea, the daughter of Arthur and Clara Cross. She grew up in Revere and was a 1945 graduate of Revere High School. Her family home was two blocks from Suffolk Downs horse track, and a few blocks from the beach. As a teenager, she held one of her favorite jobs, working part-time as a “hot walker” at the track. After a race, she walked the horses to cool them. This cultivated a love for animals that lasted throughout her life, and she could build strong bonds with horses, but also the cats and dogs she kept as pets.
She married Roy Penney, a returning World War II Veteran, in 1949. In 1956, he was hired by North American Aviation, so, Roy, Ruth and their two children packed up and moved to Moorpark, California. A family of six returned to Massachusetts in 1967 and bought a home in Burlington, where Ruth and Roy lived the rest of their lives.
Ruth managed her home and raised four children, but still had time for several hobbies. She especially loved to garden. She enjoyed the peaceful time spent tending her plants and vegetables. She would use all the harvest she could for her family, and then shared it with family and friends. When there were more vegetables still, Ruth pulled out a table next to her mailbox with the extra tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and assorted vegetables with a sign saying “Free.” Drivers would stop and ring her doorbell, offering to pay, but she was content for someone to enjoy the fruits of her hard work. She relished being a neighbor that stopped cars with her generosity.
Ruth was an avid doll collector and loved working with her hands. She amassed a collection of more than 200 dolls from all over the world. Many were showcased throughout her home in cabinets lovingly handmade for her by Roy. She was a talented knitter and could handle any pattern. Family favorites included sweaters with Winnie the Pooh, Snoopy, and other intricate designs. She made countless doll sweaters, sold at her granddaughters’ school fairs to raise funds. She took ceramics classes for years. She was a talented pastry maker. Her cream puffs, and custard, chocolate cream, and lemon meringue pies were family favorites.
She enjoyed road trips with her family. The six of them packed into a huge, faux wood-paneled station wagon, and would travel cross country to California. She loved taking different routes through the United States and Canada, stopping at new stops or having a memorable meal.
She loved being a grandmother and great-grandmother. She went to their activities, sports, school events, and celebrations. She once sat through a snowstorm at a Thanksgiving football game, just to see her grandchild perform in the color guard during half time; she stayed until the game finished, as the snow continued to fall.
Her family was the most important thing in her life. She dearly loved and was loved by her four children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Ruth was the beloved wife of the late Roy C. Penney. She was the loving mother of four: Ruth Hudson and her late husband Everett of Billerica; David Penney and his wife Kim of Nashua, NH; Lynne Mandile and her husband Joseph of Middleboro; and Janet Gean and her husband James of Keller, TX. She was predeceased by her brother, Graham Cross. She was the proud grandmother of Catherine Mathews, Wendy and Elizabeth Hudson, Matthew Penney, Anthony Mandile, and Christopher and Nicholas Gean. She was the great-grandmother of Bryan and Chelsey Mathews.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn Street, Burlington (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Saturday, June 8 from 9 to 11 a.m. Services will conclude with a graveside service in Pine Haven Cemetery, 84 Bedford Street, Burlington at 11:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. For directions, obituary, and online guestbook see www.sullivanfuneralhome.net.
Edward V. Sullivan
43 Winn Street
Burlington, MA 01803
Ph: (781) 272-0050