Saturday, April 1, 2017
11:00 AM EDT
Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church
Livonia, MI 48150
Visitation at the Church begins at 10 am until service begins.
Life Story / Obituary
A true family man, William Penn’s life was devoted to taking care of the ones most dear to him. He was a loving husband, a caring father, and a dear grandfather and great grandfather. He will be remembered for his kindness, helpful nature, and hard-working attitude.
The year was 1926, and the decade was still very much in full swing with the notable title, “The Roaring Twenties.” Life was good, and there was plenty of work for the country. Henry Ford announced the 40 hour work week for The Ford Motor Company’s factory workers. And with so many cars in production, it was imperative that the year also completed the famous Route 66 - taking travelers from Chicago, Illinois all the way out west to Los Angeles, California by automobile!
The weather was also quite active during this particular year in history. President Calvin Coolidge faced helping his country rebuild after storms of disastrous proportions. As if the Great Miami Hurricane with its category 4 destruction was not enough, the country experienced 27 tornadoes in one season. Thank goodness for the creation of Winnie the Pooh as a comfort to so many children during these and other storms throughout the year and for many still to come.
In the Midwest, far from the troubles of hurricanes, in the city of Detroit, was home to Joseph Andrew and Margaret Theresa (Roskoz) Penn. On June 10th, this happy couple welcomed their precious son to the world. They named him William, and he would along with siblings, Elaine and Joseph, make the family complete. William was also affectionately called Bill throughout his life. He and his brother and sister would spend their childhood in East Detroit playing “Kick the Can,” the ever popular “Red Rover,” and regular games of neighborhood tag. He completed 12th grade at Cass Tech High School.
Immediately following graduation, he joined the military. Unfortunately, he came down with tonsillitis when he was trying to complete basic training. They sent him home to recover, and this put him behind his group which had implications later on. Finally, he was sent to Italy for 4 months as part of the 10th Mountain Division. It just so happened that World War II ended the week of that training. Men were discharged according to their earned points, and this was when his sicknesses gave him a disadvantage because he would not have enough points to enjoy an early discharge. Bill, instead, continued to serve his country closer to home at Camp Blanding, Florida. He was a clerk and guide for the higher commanders there and also drove them around as a bus driver. From there, he was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia where he learned the tricks of culinary arts in cook school. He officially served from 1944 to 1946.
In his young adult years, Bill enjoyed golfing, boating and sports and he went occasionally hunting. He did many of these activities with friends from high school who remained his friends throughout his adulthood.
Bill was lucky to fall in love in his lifetime. He met Beverly through a mutual friend who worked with her. It was pretty much love at first sight, as the two were married soon after at Saint Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Detroit. Together they welcomed three daughters into their lives, Cathleen, Carol, and Pamela. Bill and Bev were on a Archery league together. The Penn family enjoyed vacationing at Snyder Lake in Lewiston, Michigan for two weeks every year. During this time, a good deal of boating and fishing was enjoyed by all. Eventually, this traditional spot closed. The family found another great place just down the road called “Horseshoe Resort” on Tee Lake where many more memories were created. Bill and Bev also shared the love of pinochle with their lifetime friends from high school.
After their children were grown, Bill and Bev enjoyed doing many activities together. Bill served as an usher and head of his usher team as well as a deacon and an elder. He also made many friends where ever he would go. When the church needed a kitchen remodeled, Bill headed that committee as well. He was instrumental on the house committee and was known for being able to fix anything and was given the nickname “Mr. Fixit”. He was also awarded the “Man of the year” award, in 2012. The happy couple spent such regular times at Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church where they had a traditional spot in the same pew on which they sat every Sunday. This spot became somewhat sacred to the whole family and was signified by the beautiful purple stained glass window at the end. It was such an important fixture that all of Bill’s children and grandchildren were given small replicas of purple stained glass to hang on their Christmas tree every year.
When they were not devoting time at their church, they traveled with many friends to many places. Bill would participate in many golf outings, and enjoyed golfing with his senior golf league and golfed and fished up to the age of 88. A true Detroit native, Bill enjoyed watching the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers with friends and family.
In his times of solitude, he soaked up the time to read. Bill loved getting a good deal, and he would find some great steals for used books at the library. It was not unusual for Bill to read four to six books in one week. His favorite authors were Stuart Woods and James Patterson. Always enjoying the company of friends, he even liked to share his love of reading by letting others borrow his books by his favorite authors.
Some of the most blessed times for Bill and Bev were the joyful celebrations of life with the family; they were given the gift of eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Bill loved his wife and girls always putting them first and cherished his family all of the days of his life.
Though Bill was set in his ways and sometimes a bit frugal, these qualities only added to his hard-working attitude in life. He was a loyal friend and quite a perfectionist. He often said, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” He used his lifetime to create a wonderful family who will miss him greatly. He did not lose a moment in the 90 years and 9 months he lived, as he lived with purpose and tenacity. We will hold memories shared with Bill close to our hearts, and he will be greatly missed.
Penn, William March 17, 2017 age 90 years and 9 months. Beloved husband of the late Beverly, Loving father of Cathleen (Ken) Elstone, Carol (Charles) Stefanson and Pam (Vince) Pizzo. Visitation Friday, March 31st from 2-9pm at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home 30200 Five Mile Rd (Btw Middlebelt & Merriman). Family will receive guests at 10 am until time of service 11am at Rosedale Gardens Presbyterian Church 9601 Hubbard in Livonia. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the church.