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PENNEY LEONIE PENNEY Died peacefully in her home in Greenbelt, MD on Monday, July 22, 2013 at the age of 95. Leonie was born on March 29, 1918 in The Hague, the Netherlands, to a Jewish family, the only child of Bernard and Olga Snatager. Growing up in the Netherlands Leonie earned her Master's degree in Economics in 1940 from the University of Amsterdam, the first woman in her field to do so. Leonie survived the Holocaust of World War II by adopting an assumed identity and going underground. In 1948, she emigrated to the United States with her job as Senior Economist for the World Bank. She met Walter Penney at the International Student House in Washington, DC and they married on October 11, 1952. After raising three children, she took a position as a Systems Analyst with the Department of Agriculture. Leonie further received a second Masters Degree in Computer Sciences from the University of Maryland. After retiring from the Department of Agriculture she established her own home-based database consulting firm, Penney Associates. Leonie loved her American hometown of Greenbelt, MD. Throughout the 56 years she lived in Greenbelt, she served the community through her involvement with the Greenbelt Co-operative nursery, GIVES, Greenbelt Cares, the swim team, Twin Pines Savings and Loan, the Recycling Community, the Senior Citizens' Advisory Board, the Greenbelt News Review and the Widowed Person's Support Group. Leonie won numerous medals at Senior Olympics events. She was awarded Greenbelt's Citizen of the Year in 2008; she received the Greenbelt Outstanding Service award for her work on the Senior Advisory Board, and she received a Governors Citation from Governor O'Malley of Maryland in 2013. Leonie was instrumental in creating the body of work dedicated to her childhood friend Etty Hillesum. These works detailed the struggles Etty endured in concentration camps during the war through her diaries and letters to Leonie. She dedicated the Etty Hillesum memorial at the National Holocaust Memorial in Washington DC, and was invited back 20 years later as one of the last remaining survivors, where she was met by President Clinton. Leonie is survived by her daughter, Olga Garber (and Jon) of Leesburg, VA; son, Bernard (and Julie) of Pittsboro, NC; 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was dearly loved and will be greatly missed. The memorial service and reception for Leonie Penney will be held at the Greenbelt Fire House Meeting Hall, 125 Crescent Road, on Sunday, August 4 at 4 p.m. The memorial service and reception for Leonie Penney will be held at the Greenbelt Fire House Meeting Hall, 125 Crescent Road, on Sunday, August 4 at 4 p.m.
Published in The Washington Post from July 27 to July 29, 2013