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Asheville - Joe David Penland Sr., 66, of Asheville, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC.
A native of Cherokee County, and a resident of Clay County, he moved with his parents, Ruth Ford Penland of Swannanoa and the late George Arthur Penland, in 1960 to Swannanoa where he attended Owen High School until the family's relocation to Asheville where he graduated in 1965 from Asheville High School.
In 1967, Joe proudly enlisted in the U.S. Army and served during the Vietnam War where he quickly accelerated in rank from a Private 1st Class to the rank of Staff Sergeant as part of the 1st Battalion, 69th Armor 4th Infantry Division in just a six months period.
After his honorable discharge from the military in 1969, Joe became a licensed funeral director in the state of North Carolina, and joined his parents and brothers in 1970 to form Penland & Sons Funeral Home in Asheville. Over the next four years, he became a licensed insurance agent and licensed monument sales representative, and founded both Penland & Sons Insurance Agency and Penland & Sons Monument Sales. In 1975, Joe aided in the expansion of Penland & Sons Funeral Home with the opening of a second location in Swannanoa.
Even though the Penland & Sons Funeral Homes had always offered ambulance service, Joe took it upon himself to seek further education, and in 1975 became a graduate of the first class of emergency medical technicians (E.M.T.) in Buncombe County, which helped to expand the ambulance service from two ambulances to ten ambulances with ten full-time E.M.T.'s and a host of part-time E.M.T.'s. He also served on the Asheville-Buncombe Technician School's advisory board for Emergency Medical Services.
Joe believed in supporting youth sports and humanitarian efforts. He had sponsored and helped coach youth leagues in baseball, soccer, and bowling in which he was a certified bowling coach with the American Junior Bowling Association. He had served as an officer in both the W.N.C. Junior Bowling Association and the W.N.C. Men's Tenpin Association.
He was a former member of the Asheville City Schools Advisory Committee, Asheville City School P.T.A., Asheville Breakfast Lion's Club, Asheville J.C.'s, Asheville Tourism Association, Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Swannanoa-Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Better Business Bureau, Asheville V.F.W. Post #891, Hayesville Oak Forest Methodist Church, Blue Ridge Memorial Society, Continental Memorial Society, Appalachian Men's Bowling League, North Carolina Taxicab Association, and International Taxicab Association.
In addition to his father, he is preceded in death by a brother, Jerry F. Penland, and a very dear friend whom was like a brother, Wayne Hensley.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Terrie Messer Penland; sons, Joe D. Penland Jr. and his wife, Rhea, and their children, Jenesis and Dawson all of Swannanoa, and Jason W. Penland and his wife, Shelly, and their children, Jonathan and Emily, all of Fairview; brother, Jim Penland and his wife, Linda, of Leicester; sister-in-law, Janice Penland of Swannanoa; lifelong friends, Chuck Norman and his wife, Linda, of Swannanoa, and Sandy Hensley of Asheville, and several nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, February 1, 2014 from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM at the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church. A private burial will be held at the Western Carolina State Veteran's Cemetery in Black Mountain.
The family would like to acknowledge the Charles George VA Medical Center for their outstanding care of Mr. Penland in his final days.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Joe's honor to a veteran
Condolences may be made to the family at www.PenlandFamilyFuneralHome.com.
Penland Family Funeral Home Inc
125 South Ave Swannanoa, NC 28778
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Jan. 31, 2014