Richard Lewis Penrod was born in Windber, PA on February 10, 1936 and was big brother to Jim Penrod of Springfield VA, Pat Long of Scotland, MD. and David Penrod of Harrisonburg, VA. Dad enjoyed an idyllic American childhood, with memories of fishing with his grandfather, Lewis (for whom he is named), sword fighting with fluorescent tube lights in the city dump, and collecting Lionel trains. He also remembers blackout curtains, searching for scraps of metal to help with the war efforts and that there were no new shoes or cars for a couple of years because those materials were used for the soldiers. His slight, but muscular build contributed to his becoming an excellent gymnast, runner, and coxswain on his rowing team at GW University. In his late 70s, he was offered a lawn mowing job, mistaken for a teenager by a passing neighbor.
His degrees in cartography and photogrammetry are from George Washington University and Purdue University. He and Lydia Peachey Penrod were married for nearly 57 years. She was with him at the moment he passed at about 3am on April 18th, 2019, and was never farther than a stone’s throw in the past two and a half years since his diagnosis of ALS. Mom thinks Dad was the smartest person she ever met. He could do anything he set his mind to. Acts of service (and buttered pecan ice cream) were his love languages. Most of his days and nights were spent helping others, and was regularly seen enjoying a bowl of ice cream at the end of each day. His thoughtfulness and industriousness were evident from the time he was a child. At the age of 9, he used scrap lumber to build a very sturdy clubhouse for him and his siblings. When he was 16, he slept on the ground outside the Singer shop in Georgetown so he could buy a sewing machine for his mother for a penny at the President’s Day sale the next morning. He brought the machine home, found a pattern, and sewed a dress for his sister with it.
After serving for four years as a Marine, Dad enjoyed the rest of his career for the U.S. Department of Defense as a cartographer, receiving awards for his work. At home, he was a devoted soccer coach, scoutmaster, and quietly taught others what he knew. He believed that “You should never pay someone to do something you can do yourself… and you can do anything yourself.”
In addition to his commitment to making sure everything was in good working condition, he devoted many years to the research of our family’s genealogy. Dad was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served happily in many leadership roles from the time of his conversion in the 60s. He truly embodied the value, “Leave things better than they were when you found them.”
He is survived by his wife, Lydia, and their six children, Erin, Beth, Eric, Kim, Tyler and John, plus 26 grandchildren and nearly 4 great-grandchildren, all raised in homes upgraded by Grandpa.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 27th at 12 noon with a viewing at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 399 Apple Pie Ridge Road, Winchester, VA 22603. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to The ALS Association, designated to research, PO Box 37022 Boone, IA 50037-0022 or online at www.alsa.org. in memory of Richard Lewis Penrod. Dad’s final resting place will be in the Culpeper National Cemetery.