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Penelope BISBORT

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Penelope BISBORT Obituary

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BISBORT, Penelope PENELOPE ANNE BISBORT Penelope Anne Bisbort was the daughter, wife and sister of decorated U.S. Army officers. She was born, to Lt. Lloyd Ernst Mielenz (later colonel) and Penelope Sunbeam Pendergrass, on Jan. 23, 1920 at Fort Belvoir, Va. (then known as Camp Humphries). This intimate connection to the U.S. military allowed "Penny" over the years to live and travel extensively before settling with her husband and four children in Atlanta in 1963. Prior to Atlanta, where she lived the last 50 years of her life, Penny lived in, among other places, the Philippines, Honolulu, Panama Canal Zone, Iowa, Tennessee, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Japan and France. As a younger woman, Penny wrote her "history" in an 8-page document nearly half of which was devoted to chronicling and extolling the achievements and character of her father, mother, brother and stepmother. This was in keeping with the selflessness and loving nature that were Penny's signatures, and her enduring gifts to her children. "Put others first" was her credo, one she followed even as her health declined. But this was not to say that Penny did not have some exceptional accomplishments of her own, as well as obstacles to overcome. Her mother died of Bright's disease when she was 9. Just before her death, her mother told Penny to "always be a good girl and take care of your little brother." Her brother, Lloyd Mielenz, was the apple of Penny's eye and, for many years, she talked on the phone with him every Sunday (right after 60 Minutes). When her father remarried in 1930, to Maurine LaPell Gostin Ricker, her mother's roommate at Cox College, along with a new "mother," Penny acquired another younger sibling, Maurine ("I was thrilled to have a sister"), over whom she watched as assiduously as she did her brother. Penny was valedictorian of her class at State College High School in Pennsylvania and went to Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College). When her father was stationed in the Philippines, she moved there and taught kindergarten at Corregidor, the army installation on Manila Bay where her father was chief engineer. As the Japanese threat grew in the weeks before Pearl Harbor, she and her family moved to Macon, Ga., while her father remained at his post. He was among the troops who held out under intense, sustained attacks by the Japanese. On May 6, 1942, Corregidor fell and he was taken prisoner of war. During the war, Penny did clerical work at Cochran Field in Macon, was transferred to the Pentagon and then to the Panama Canal Zone. After the war, her father was given time to recuperate in Macon from his years of deprivation at the hands of the Japanese, and then transferred to Fort Meade, Md. One of Col. Mielenz's junior officers there was Harold Edwin "Biz" Bisbort, a civil engineer and war veteran from Philadelphia whom she married on Aug. 23, 1947. Their first child, James Edward ("Jeb") was born in August 1948 in Washington D.C. Soon thereafter, the Bisborts were transferred to Japan, where two more children were born, in 1952 and 1953. Before being transferred to France, they made a two-year stopover in Mobile, Ala., where their final child was born in 1956. Taking advantage of her own travel experiences, Penny worked as a travel agent for Vacations International in Atlanta for many years, often leading tour groups to far-flung destinations, including China, South Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Canada. She was a devoted member of Clairmont Presbyterian and a popular member of her Sunday school class. She is survived by her daughters Patricia Stevens of Decatur, Mary Nell Stone of Tucker, her son Alan Bisbort of Cheshire, Conn., and five grandchildren who knew and loved her as their "Mimi." The family will receive friends, Friday, October 4, 2013 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home in Decatur. A private interment service will be held at 12:00 noon followed by a memorial service at Clairmont Presbyterian Church at 1:00 pm on Saturday, October 5, 2013 with Rev. Owen Stepp officiating. A reception will follow immediately after the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Penelope Bisborts memory to the The Salvation Army, 2090 N. Druid Hills Rd., Atlanta, GA 30329. A. S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home and Crematory.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Oct. 1 to Oct. 2, 2013
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