Betty Lou Rowe Penny
May 24, 1937 - November 22, 2021
Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina - Betty Lou Rowe Penny, born May 24, 1937, to the late Robert Alvin Rowe and Leoria Cook Rowe, died November 22, 2021. Betty Lou grew up in Garner and graduated in 1955 from Garner High School. She graduated in 1959 with a degree in Home Economics Education from Woman's College, which later became the co-ed University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She married her high school sweetheart Horace on February 2, 1957 at Ft. Benjamin Harrison near Indianapolis, Indiana where he was stationed in the US Army and later deployed to Korea. After Betty Lou graduated, she taught school in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama before coming back to North Carolina. She taught Home Economics and Marriage and Family Living at Rocky Mount Senior High in the 70's. Betty Lou was a firm believer in higher education. While teaching and raising a family of three girls, she earned her Master's Degree at East Carolina University by attending night school. She taught the deaf and blind students at Governor Morehead School in Raleigh, and she completed her career in Nash County as a Vocational Education Counselor. Upon retirement, Horace and Betty Lou enjoyed completing their travel to all 50 states. Betty Lou had a lifelong love of playing the piano and frequently played in church. Betty Lou was an avid bridge player of more than 50 years. She enjoyed her Rocky Mount bridge club and continued to travel there from Fuquay-Varina, and she joined a local bridge club in order to keep playing when she could no longer make the trip to Rocky Mount. She was a generous supporter of UNCG, her alma mater. She was a past president and actively involved in the MU Chapter of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for Outstanding Educators.
She is predeceased by her husband of 62 years, Horace Donald Penny, her sister Ann Rowe Baucom and her brother Derrieux "Derry" Rowe. Left to cherish her memory are: daughters Melinda Canady and her late husband Wayne (Bubba) of Clayton, Melanie Penny of Fuquay-Varina, Melissa Murphy and her husband Charles of Austin, Texas; her grandchildren Austin and Jacob Murphy of Austin, Texas; her precious great grandchildren Sawyer and Charlotte Helms of Fuquay-Varina and their father Staff Sergeant Thomas Helms, USMC of Beaufort, South Carolina; and her brother-in-law William B Baucom of Raleigh. A special thanks to Raymundo and Norma for enriching the lives of Horace and Betty Lou. Their help, love and support and visits to Betty Lou after her move to Windsor Point were invaluable. She leaves a legacy of love for her family and faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She will be dearly missed by her daughters and their families, her extended family, and many friends. Shortly after Horace's death in 2019, Betty Lou's declining health required her to have round the clock care. She moved to Windsor Point Retirement Community in Fuquay-Varina to their Assisted Living Unit in January 2020. She lived on Chelsea Hall and was loved and well cared for by many wonderful aides, CNAs, TNAs, med techs, and nurses. She was treated as family and lovingly called Miss Betty, Ma, Penny Penny, Bad Betty, Nana, and Mama by her new family of caregivers on Chelsea Hall. There were so many involved in her care that we cannot name them all but they know how much we appreciate and love them.The family would like to also thank the many employees of Transitions LifeCare that handled her Hospice care during her last months.
COVID proved difficult and challenging for the residents, the staff, and the families. Residents were confined to their rooms and later allowed window visits. Isolation was tough on the residents and their families, especially those who contracted COVID like Betty Lou did. The family is so thankful that most of those restrictions have been lifted and were allowed to visit frequently in the last few months. The family invites you to join them in a celebration of her life at Bryan-Lee Chapel in Garner, North Carolina on Friday, November 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm for visitation. Reverend Tom Newman will conduct the service at 2:00 pm. Flowers will be graciously accepted or contributions in her memory may be made to Transitions LifeCare, Wake County SPCA, or a charity or church of your choice.
Published by The News & Observer from Nov. 25 to Nov. 26, 2021.