Molly Penson Krival
February 15, 2014
Molly Krival died February 15, 2014 at the age of 88 at the Shell Point Pavilion Hope Hospice under the kind and skilled care of their staff.
Molly Betty Penson was born November 19th, 1925 in New York, New York to Michael Penson and Cecile (Cohen) Penson. As a girl she attended P.S. 9, and was part of a program that brought children to the great museums of New York. Molly developed a lifelong interest in art, opera and world culture. In her teens she moved to Florida, where her academic excellence was encouraged by her Miami Beach High teachers. After graduating, Molly enrolled at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she met and married a fellow student, Arthur Krival. In 1949, Molly earned a Masters degree in Speech Correction with her thesis "An Investigation of the Behavior of Nonstuttering Three-and-four-year-old Children" and began her career in speech therapy. Art's career eventually brought the couple to Wisconsin in 1960, and Molly was invited to enroll in the doctoral program in speech pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1961. She earned her PhD in 1965 with the dissertation "An Electromyographic Study of the Orbicularis Oris Muscle in Speech of People with Parkinson's Disease".
Art's opportunity with a U.S. Aid for International Development project next took the couple to Nairobi, Kenya in 1967. There, Molly volunteered at a speech therapy clinic and gave invited lectures in neuroscience at the Nairobi Hospital. Her "doctor's" white coat allowed her to visit speech therapy clients in the roughest Nairobi neighborhoods, and she learned to provide speech and language services across multiple cultures and in several languages.
Molly also discovered a passion for wildlife and the natural world. Molly and Art took the family camping in the East African bush as often as possible, exploring Serengeti, Amboseli, and Tsavo parks, Olduvai Gorge, the foothills of Kilimanjaro, Murchison Falls, Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha, the ancient cities of the Swahili Coast: Dar Es Salaam, Mombasa, and Malindi, and more.
Molly became a remarkable outdoorswoman. She kept her family calm even when she opened the tent flap one night to discover a hippopotamus looking back. The rest of the hippo herd was grunting noisily as they daintily stepped over the lines of the tent stakes; the family had made the potentially fatal mistake of camping along a hippo path. On another occasion, a large bull elephant joined the camp as the family washed up after dinner, sending them into their tent. The attraction was a partly full bottle of beer, which the elephant picked up and explored while Molly and her crew peeked out from the canvas.
When she returned from Kenya in 1970, Molly accepted a faculty position in Communication Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. There, she specialized in neurological disorders of adults that affect speech and language, and was Coordinator of the Graduate Program. She served as President of the Wisconsin
Speech, Language and Hearing Association and was active in the development of professional standards for speech pathologists throughout the 1970s and 80s.
After she retired as a full Professor Emeritus in 1988, Molly moved with Art to Sanibel, FL and the two of them began volunteering at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. She joined the Board of the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, a nonprofit support group for the refuge, and served three terms as its President. She served two terms as Chairman of the City of Sanibel Wildlife Committee, and volunteered as a trail guide for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Association. Later, she chaired the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, and she served for some years on the Board of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. Notably, Molly developed a mentorship program to help communities form Friends groups for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuges, and for many years traveled the U.S. and its Territories in this effort. Among other awards, she received the Service's Special Commendation for Valuable Service in 1996, and was named its national Volunteer of the Year in 1998. In 2004, she served as the Director of the Friends of Midway Atoll, joining a group of environmentalists from around the nation in serving the National Wildlife Refuge there. Deeply committed to the welfare of wildlife, Molly continued to mentor her successors even after she and Art left Sanibel for Shell Point in 2005.
Molly will be deeply missed. Molly and Art were married for 62 years until Arthur's death in 2010. She is survived by her brother, Edward Penson, children David, Michael, Stephen and Catherine Krival, daughter-in-law Ann Krival, grandchildren Michael Finucane and Ella Krival, niece Cindy Penson Barker and nephews Jeffrey and Al Penson. In lieu of a memorial service individuals who wish to honor her memory may contribute in her name to the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society: http://www.dingdarlingsociety.org/donate_cust.php, or to the Harry Chapin Food Bank at http://www.harrychapinfoodbank.org/donate.
Published in The News-Press from Feb. 25 to Mar. 2, 2014