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Anna Eleanor Taylor MORGAN-PENZ

Obituary Condolences

Anna Eleanor Taylor MORGAN-PENZ Obituary
MORGAN-PENZ, Anna Eleanor Taylor

Anna Eleanor Taylor Morgan-Penz, 26, beloved wife of Matthew Scott Penz, died in an automobile crash on Sunday, 1 December 2013, in the Navasota area. Anna was born on Friday, 23 October 1987, at Seton Hospital in Austin. She is the loving daughter and only child of Edgar Nolan Morgan and Martha Guynes Morgan, the namesake of her maternal grandmother, Eleanor Geline Randolph Guynes Green of Abilene, and her maternal great-grandmother, Jennie Taylor Showalter Randolph, of Abilene Christian University via Vanderbilt University and Snowville, Virginia. Anna wore Jennie's 1906 wedding ring until the end. She was the great-niece of William Henry Pryor Showalter, a founder of the University Avenue Church of Christ and the Firm Foundation Publishing house in Austin. Godparents at her christening were her maternal uncle, Samuel Bexton Guynes of Austin, as well as her deeply devoted paternal aunt and uncle, Neva Morgan Biggs and Bill Biggs.

Anna met her soul mate, Matthew Scott Penz, when she was sixteen and he was eighteen. They had ten years together, inseparable except for time in Europe. They were married at seven in the evening on Sunday, 15 July 2012, at Green Pastures Victorian home on West Live Oak in South Austin, where peafowl abound, dictating the peacock wedding theme. The officiant was longtime family friend and the couple's pre-marriage counselor, Saint Annie's associate pastor, The Rev. Dr. Janelle Curlin-Taylor. There was a Celtic hand fasting ritual with ribbons and pearls binding the pair forever, its ancient appeal arising from the bride's Celtic Christianity tour. Matt's and Anna's seasonal celebrations of their 22 October and 23 October birthdays occasioned Halloween decorations. The couple honeymooned in the Caribbean and celebrated their first anniversary at Omni Royal Orleans in New Orleans.

Anna's religious life began when she joined the two-year-olds class at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. She was baptized on 27 October 1996. Sunday school classes and service projects followed. She became an acolyte. Her confirmation mentor is Linda Gorzycki. She enjoyed Episcopal Youth Community classes and summer camps at Camp Allen near Houston. She especially shined at churchwide summer outings at Concan on the Frio River, where her lemon ice cream was greatly anticipated. Her Celtic Christianity trip to Teffont, England, and other religious sites in England and Wales, and Scotland was a highlight of her life, as was her church mission trip to Honduras to build homes.

Anna's education began at the age of ten months under the supervision of Dr. Bill Carver at the UT Child and Family Laboratory, housed then in the former elementary school on West 24th Street. At eighteen months the family began walking through her Heritage neighborhood with her dog Blackie to Child Craft School. At three, she began preschool at the UT Childcare Center with Miss Beulah. Soon to follow was kindergarten at All Saints Episcopal Church, where we all learned to say, "This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." We still say it, even in such difficult circumstances as these. As a toddler she knew all the "Little Mermaid" songs and "Sing, Sweet Nightingale" dressed in lace and a tiara while scrubbing the floor as Cinderella.

Anna's time with the Austin Independent School District began in 1994 at Casis Elementary with Mrs. Peel and Principal Amy Kincaid. She was a Brownie, Girl Scout, and athlete. Upon graduation from Mr. Batiansilla's fifth grade class, the principal was Barry Aidman.

Her musical career began even before elementary school, at age five with the University of Texas String project, where she began cello lessons with fellow student Rachel Stanley. One of her solos was Sting's "Every Breath You Take." In sixth grade William Dick mentored her in the orchestra. She also began seven years of participation in the Austin Youth Orchestras, where at times she occupied first chair. Our daughter also played Salon Concerts with Dr. Robert Rudie's Chamber Music in Public Schools. While at Trinity University in San Antonio, U.S. News and World Report's best western regional college, Anna played four years in the symphony orchestra on scholarship with Dr. Green. She also played bass guitar and sang in choirs at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. Anna returned to the church during holiday seasons to play for the Christmas services under the direction of Jeanne Burks and Sondra Ryan.

At O. Henry Middle School under Principal Pete Price, Anna continued with orchestra and began her five-year study of French. Poignantly, she also got her first inkling that the world was not always nice when someone stole her purse at orientation. No matter. She was elected to the National Junior Honor Society, always making the A honor roll. Anna thrived being a member of a team, the basketball and volleyball teams at the school and at West Austin Youth Association across the street.

After her freshman studies at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy at LBJ, where she enjoyed studying English and engineering, and orchestra with Dr. Davenport, Anna transferred to Austin High School ("Loyal Forever") with the rest of her O. Henry-Casis cohort. She played softball AHS and at WAYA with Scotty Sayers. Again, always a first-honor roll achiever, she was a member of the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. Anna was an honor graduate of the Austin High School Class of 2006, where she was awarded the Kay Pinckney Braziel Scholarship. She was a summer counselor with the Austin Symphony Orchestra's Children's Day Art Park.

For her undergraduate studies, Anna handled all the college application process of on her own, with pride and gratitude from her parents. She was accepted on scholarship at many institutions, as for example The University of Texas at Austin, Southwestern University, Beloit, Tulane, UT Dallas with a full scholarship including room and board. But Trinity University in San Antonio captured her heart. It was her first choice, she said, because she never heard anyone say anything negative about it, with concomitant full praise. Our precious daughter funded much of her higher education through winning and maintaining the necessary grades for her Kay Pinckney Braziel scholarship, her four-year scholarships, the Presidential Merit Scholarship, the Herndon Music Scholarship, and the Ethel Evans Religion Department Scholarship. Her not inconsiderable Texas Be-On-Time Loan was forgiven because she did indeed finish in four years. She was the Psychology Department lab assistant for the challenging and admired Dr. Paula Hertel. Hers was the Trinity University Class of 2010, in which she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree, double-majoring in Psychology and Religion. Other affiliations included the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (secretary, Community Service Events chairman), Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, and the Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society. She worked briefly at Pearson as a clerical assistant for Dr. Kimberly O'Malley.

Her social and service life at Trinity included, among other things, the Trinity Cat Alliance, where her team cared for feral cats on university grounds; president and secretary of the Trinity Traditions Council, which twice gave her to opportunity to produce the spring Spotlight revue. She was president, vice-president, and historian for Zeta Chi Sorority. She was frequently a fundraiser for the Trinity Phone-A-Thon, a member of the Trinity Psychology Club, Trinity University Greek Judicial Board, Trinity 360 Recruitment Board, and the Trinity University Symphony Orchestra.

Anna's postgraduate studies culminated in 2012 with the completion of a rigorous three-year Master of Arts in School Psychology program with distinguished Texas and National Association of School Psychologists certifications, particularly in law, with internships at Pleasanton ISD and Floresville ISD along the way. She celebrated graduation at La Paloma and the Preiss Heights Owners Park on the Guadalupe.

Morgan-Penz's independent professional career began in Dripping Springs ISD at Walnut Springs Elementary School. Julie Pryor, principal reports that a fund to buy books in her name has been instituted. She called it her dream job. A memorial tree will be planted for her, and an emblem corresponding to Anna's personality will be affixed outside the private office she adored. Anna worked with, admired, and was admired by many professionals and parents who helped her improve the lives of children there. Earlier she was a clerical assistant at Pearson Education.

Anna's most outstanding quality was her loving nature, above and beyond that of anyone we have ever known. Love of her aged parents meant she spent lots of time with them. Her husband, Matt, also basked in and returned her love. She enjoyed the Guadalupe River in general and in particular at her parents' home near Gruene.

This young woman was a highly motivated, dedicated, ambitious professional with a strong work ethic and strong communications skills. She had excellent organizational skills with attention to detail, and the ability to mentor others. It was written of her that "Most of all, I liked HER. Always her own person, never one to simper or look to others for the the right thing to say or do." Her traits were noted as "smart, conscientious, earnest, modest, empathetic, and mature." Her social media friends attest to many other impactful and endearing qualities she had.

She loved, loved, loved cats. The cats of her current home were Miss Kitten and Dresden, not to mention her MinPin dog, Penny. In second grade she adopted barn cats Tom and Diana. While searching for the absent Diana, Anna adopted Pomeranian Pepper from the animal shelter. In fifth grade she adopted blue kittens Phil and Lil (Rugrats) from the Pflugers at church, followed by Burmese Timbuktu, and strays Pumpkin, Silver, Jessie, Jackson, and occasional visitors Patches and Baby. Her dogs Salt and Pepper passed away, leaving only her white German spitz dog, Cotton, in her home with her parents and the above cats.

Anna's Mennonite family departed Alsace in 1750, sailing to Philadelphia aboard the ship Tolerance to escape religious persecution in Catholic Europe. Others who died before her were her maternal grandparents Eleanor Geline Randolph Guynes Green, 90, Samuel Bexton Guynes II, 53, and Gen. John Norvell "Pete" Green, 84; paternal grandparents Lala Spann Morgan, 86, and Edgar Thomas Morgan; all of her grandparents' generation, and many of her parents' generation, including her aunt Judy (Dennis) Morgan, uncle Gerald Morgan, and first cousins once removed Everett Maxon Randolph, Henry Randolph, and Peyton Randolph.

Surviving her are her husband, Matthew Scott Penz and his parents Robin and Brian Penz, of Austin; her parents, Ed and Martha Morgan, of New Braunfels (Gruene), on the Guadalupe River. Her godparents are her paternal uncle and aunt, Bill and Neva Biggs, and her maternal uncle, Samuel Bexton Guynes. Sam's son, Anna's cousin, Samuel Scott Guynes (Amber, and children, Amiya, Emmy, Samuel Scott Jr., and, born Thanksgiving 2013, Spencer James Guynes, of Arlington) also survive. Matt's grandmother in New Mexico remains as well. Uncles surnamed Morgan are Dennis, Norris (Sandy), Melton (Kathy). Her Morgan aunts are Neva Morgan Biggs and LaQuita Morgan Johnson. Morgan cousins who survive her are Scott Morgan Biggs, William Biggs (Rachel and children Lillian and Willson), Kent Morgan, Keely Morgan. Elaina, Tony, Jayson, Susie, Amy, Sheila, Christi, Kim, Kenneth. First cousins once removed are Sandra Randolph Alston of Dallas, and Carol Randolph McChesney of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her special second family are her neighbors on the Guadalupe River, the Jurica and Vandermeer clans and their respective families: Vicki Jurica (Gerald, deceased), her children, Cammi Klier, Kevin Jurica, Sean Jurica; Tobi Vandermeer and sons Corey Sanderford and Zack Sanderford.

Memorials to Anna may be made to organizations for welfare of cats, such as the Trinity Cat Alliance and Austin Pets Alive. Contributions in her name to The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd are close to her heart. There is also a memorial book fund honoring Anna at the school where she was a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology: Walnut Springs Elementary School, Dripping Springs Independent School District, 300 Sportsplex Trail, Dripping Springs, TX 78620.

Visitation is scheduled for 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening at Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home at 6300 West William Cannon Drive, Austin, 78749.

Services will take place Thursday, 12 December 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Road, Austin, Texas, 78703. After interment at nearby Austin Memorial Park, Anna's life will be joyously celebrated at the church's Parish Hall. Please join us to share stories of her life and yours.

Condolences may be made at www.cookwaldenforestoaks.com.

Isaiah 66: 12 The LORD says: As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you;

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Published in Austin American-Statesman from Dec. 10 to Dec. 12, 2013
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