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Margaret Pennebaker

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SHAFTSBURY -- Margaret Elizabeth Reymert Carlson Pennebaker (”Meg”) died peacefully on April 29, 2006, after a short illness.

Meg was born in Tallinn, Estonia, on Jan. 30, 1932. Her parents, Harry Edwin Carlson and Laura Elizabeth Reymert Carlson, were American diplomats who were stationed in Estonia at the time. Meg’s family subsequently moved to London, where her father served as U.S. consul general during Joseph Kennedy’s tenure as ambassador (Meg later recalled attending a children’s birthday party for Teddy Kennedy). In 1939, Meg’s father was sent to Vienna, where Meg witnessed first-hand the Nazi regime. Decades afterward, she still vividly remembered watching a May Day parade of the Hitler Youth, who were little boys her own age.

When the State Department ordered women and children to return to the U.S., Meg sailed to New York with her mother and brother. The family settled in White Plains, N.Y., where Meg attended high school. She then went on to college, first at Cortland State University in New York, and then at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she received a B.A. in psychology in 1954.

After graduating, Meg drove cross-country to Los Angeles, where she lived for two years, before returning to the east coast. In 1960, she began working for IBM in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., first in the human resources department, and then later as a computer programmer (in the era when programmers used paper punch cards). At IBM, Meg met physicist William Boone Pennebaker, whom she married in 1967 in Sheffield, Mass. After their marriage, Meg and her husband settled in Mahopac, N.Y., where Meg soon became a full-time mother of two daughters.

Meg loved horses all her life. In her youth, she was an accomplished rider and at one point was invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team. Although financial constraints made it impossible for her to accept the invitation, she was able to take a memorable trip to support the team at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Even after she stopped riding due to health problems, Meg remained active in Pony Club and 4-H, and was the organizer of several equestrian events to benefit local charities. After she and her husband retired to Shaftsbury in 1993, Meg became one of the founding organizers of the Ride and Shine Family Hunter Pace, held annually at Trumbull Mountain Farm to benefit an organization that promotes therapeutic riding for people with disabilities.

Meg is survived by her husband, Bill; her daughters, Elizabeth Allen-Pennebaker of Burlington, and Patricia Pennebaker Rutins, of Arlington. She will also be survived by Patricia’s son, who is due in August. Her family will miss Meg very much and are grateful for the many expressions of sympathy they have received from Meg’s friends.

There will be a private burial followed by a public memorial service held at St. James Episcopal Church in Arlington on Wednesday May 3, 2006, at 3 p.m. After the service, visitors are welcome at the Pennebaker home. Memorial contributions may be made to Ride and Shine through the offices of Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, P.O. Box 957, Bennington, VT 05201.

For directions or to send e-mail condolences, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com

Arrangements are under the care of Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, 213 West Main St., Bennington.
Published in Bennington Banner on May 1, 2006
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