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Donald R. Penland

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Donald R. Penland, of Quincy, Calif., passed away on March 3, 2007, at Enloe Hospital, Chico, Calif., at the age of 81, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was born on Jan. 25, 1926, in St. Helena, Calif., to Edward and Dorothy (Wagner) Penland, the middle son of three Penland boys: Edward, Don and Robert. Don graduated from St. Helena High School in 1943. He was a member of the "Carpy Gang" and played for the St. Helena Blue Sox.

He joined the Navy right out of high school and served on the USS Serene (AM300 minesweeper) in the Pacific Theater in World War II. He received a Purple Heart for injuries received during his naval service. He enjoyed many reunions with his former shipmates beginning in 1965, meeting each year in a different city.

After the war he played baseball for a season with a farm team of the Philadelphia Athletics in Portsmouth, Ohio.

He attended Chico State College, majored in Biological Sciences and received his Masters degree and teaching credential in 1953.

He played football and baseball for the Chico State Wildcats from 1948-1952. He also played catcher for the Dunsmuir Merchants and later the Chico Colts. In Quincy, he caught for and managed the American Valley Giants. He was inducted into the Chico State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.

Don married his college sweetheart, Betty, daughter of Joe and Lily (Shearer) Dimauro of Finley, Calif., in September 1952. They moved to Quincy in 1953 where he taught Biology and Life Science at Quincy Jr. Sr. High School. He also coached football, basketball and baseball. He contracted a severe case of polio at the end of his first year of teaching and spent six months at Children's Hospital in San Francisco. The illness had a profound effect on the rest of his life. He was able to return to teaching and taught and coached until he became the vice-principal in 1960. He remained the vice-principal and director of athletics at Quincy High School until his retirement in 1985. While working and living in Quincy he also coached 25 years with the Central Plumas Little League. In his capacity as educator and coach, he touched the lives of many.

He worked many summers for the County Health Department as a public health inspector traveling throughout Plumas County. After his retirement from education he put his license as a Registered Sanitarian to use and started his own business doing percolation tests and septic system layouts.

Don is survived by his wife Betty of Quincy; son Donald A. of Chico; daughter Laurie and husband Ken Goodson of Medford, Ore.; son Joe and wife Frances of Linden; son Robert and wife Christine of Sunnyvale; seven grandchildren, Ryan, Justin, Kenna, Kami, Angela, Megan and Jacob.

He was proceeded in death by his parents; brother Edward of Gold Beach, Ore., and survived by his brother, Robert and many nephews, grand-nephews, nieces and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may he made to Quincy High Boosters Club, c/o Quincy Jr. Sr. High School, Quincy, CA 95971, American Cancer Society, The March of Dimes, C.S.U., Chico, Biology or Athletic Departments, or a charity of your choice.

A remembrance of his life will be held on Saturday, March 31, 2007, at 11 am at the Quincy Elks Hall. Friends, family and former students are cordially invited to attend and share their memories.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Mar. 6, 2007
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