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Penelope K. "Penny" Beattie Aquarium and Zoo pioneer Penelope K. "Penny" Beattie (nee Johnson), 70, beloved wife of Ted A. Beattie, President/CEO of Shedd Aquarium, passed away on Oct. 30, 2012. For nearly 20 years, the Shedd Aquarium family had been blessed by Penny Beattie's enthusiastic and charismatic support. Her contributions to Shedd Aquarium and the zoological community are extensive. Penny Beattie was a major force in the U.S. aquarium and zoo community. She began her zoological career at the Chicago Zoological Society's Brookfield Zoo in the mid-1970s, and served as the zoo's board chair from 1983 to 1987, making her the first female board chair of any Chicago institution. During her board service, Penny started programs that remain successful today, including the Zoos Holiday Magic, and Boo! at the Zoo. One of Penny's greatest contributions to the Zoo came in 1985, when she broke ground on the new Seven Seas Panorama, a new $13 million, state-of-the-art dolphin facility. Her last duties as board chair took place in June 1987 with its successful opening. Penny Beattie's expertise in fundraising, marketing, board leadership and strategic development benefited not only Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo, but also the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee and Fort Worth Zoo in Texas. Penny was a national leader as well, working with many zoos, aquariums and non-profits across the country as a strategic advisor with Philadelphia-based consultants, Schultz & Williams. Penny loved people and knew the importance of investing time in mentoring the next generation of aquarium, zoo and non-profit leaders. Always smiling, laughing and offering up a quip or two, Penny's tenacious spirit was warm and endearing, and especially welcoming. Her passion for animals and in particular, for her dogs, Sophie and Gabby, was second to none. An avid sports fan, Penny also enjoyed watching golf, baseball and basketball with her husband, Ted. The Shedd Aquarium family will forever remember the amazing Penny Beattie and the way she enhanced our institution, our lives, and our city. Family, friends and the aquarium and zoo community will miss her talents, compassion, humor, intelligence and the selfless generosity she put into life as well as all of her endeavors. Penny was born on April 16, 1942, in Kingston, NY, and attended Brown University. Penny resided in Chicago and more recently spent time in Douglas, MI and Ponte Vedra, FL. Besides her husband, Ted, she is survived by two children, Cynthia Heitkamp and John Korhumel; brother, Rick Johnson; and four grandchildren. A private ceremony will be held to celebrate Penny's life.
Published in Chicago Suburban Daily Herald on Nov. 4, 2012
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