Linda Penn, 80, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 10th at Hospice of Northwest Ohio. Linda was born in Toledo, Ohio October 23 1938, to the late Maurice and Dorothy Dietsch.
Linda attended the University of Toledo in pursuit of a degree in mathematics. While in school, she worked for Owens Illinois as a Statistical Analyst during the advent of O.I's first computer. In 1960, she married Curtis Penn; the two of them raised 4 children together and were proud parishioners of Christ the King. In 1971 she began teaching at Fairgreen Nursery School, which is where her love of nature and nurturing young minds began to flourish.
Linda was always a teacher and naturalist at heart; during her tenure at Fairgreen she edited the Christ the King newspaper and ran the Sunday school program. From there, she became the Nature Education Specialist and Program Developer for the Crosby Gardens (Toledo Botanical Gardens). Here she taught field classes and authored Petals and Wings Seasonal Science Kits, which was adapted for year-round use in the Toledo Public School System. She also was an instructor in the Enrichment Program at the University of Toledo, teaching interdisciplinary science classes based on themes from her published Good Apple series, Young Scientists Explore. During these early years, she collaborated with many, including Kerry Clark; she helped produce sing-a -long science tapes and CD's from 1988-1997, with titles such as Wet & Wild, Basically Biomes, and Celebrate Seasons.
Known fondly as the "Butterfly Lady" by 1990, Linda ended up sowing seeds of knowledge at Lourdes College. Here she became their Program Coordinator/Life Cycle Culture and Curriculum Facilitator for the Natural and Environmental Science Program. She continued to develop an interdisciplinary science-based curriculum, taught field and community resource classes for teachers, and provided outreach for the Toledo Metro Parks, Hospital Oncology, and Nursing Care facilities. She retired from Lourde's "Life Lab" at the age of 75 and continued to volunteer as a teacher for 3 further years.
In her role at Lourdes University, Linda won numerous awards over the years. She received several awards for her achievements as a teacher, leader, environmentalist and conservationist. Her most notable award was the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History's, Nature Educator of the Year Award (1998). Linda was especially proud of being one of 3 co-founders of S.A.V.E. (Science Alliance for Valuing the Environment, Inc.). Recently just celebrating their 27th annual awards ceremony, S.A.V.E. continues to make a difference in promoting a love and appreciation of our natural world and respect for the interrelatedness of ecology, spirituality and sustainability.
Linda had a "can-do" attitude and was passionate about the Catholic Church, Pro- Life issues, living out God's will, and caring for God's natural world. She was appreciative, humble and a devoted faithful servant of her precious Lord, until the end.
Linda was preceded in death by her parents Maurice and Dorothy Dietsch, her brother Don, husband Curt, and her daughter Mary Beth Joseph.
She is survived by brothers Dick (Suzanne) and Bill (Jackie) Dietsch, as well as her children: Mike (Chris) Penn, Deanna (Mike) McComish and John Penn; Grandchildren: Alex Penn, Andy (Haley) Penn, Matt (Nikki Hurtsellers) McComish, Sara (Matt Connolly) McComish, Caitlin McComish, Molly (Cory) Jarosi, Danielle (David) Weickert, Tricia (Jon) Stoddard, Robert (Michelle) Joseph, Gabrielle (Nate) Matheny, Josh (Jeff) Penn, Mikaela Penn, Haley (Brandon) Osborn and Joshua Retcher-Penn; Great grandchildren: Micah McComish, Lucy Weickert, Lucas Penn , Baylor Matheny and Hayze, Quincy and Bronx Osborn.
Friends and family are invited to celebrate Linda's life on Monday September 16th from 3:00-8:00 p.m., at Castillo Funeral Home; 1757 Tremainsville Rd. Toledo, Ohio 43613; Rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m... The funeral mass will be held Tuesday September 17th at 10:00 a.m., with visitation prior at 9:00 a.m., at Christ the King Church, 4100 Harvest Lane Toledo, Ohio 43623. Interment to follow at Toledo Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the LINDA PENN MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND, C/O Castillo Funeral Home, 1757 Tremainsville Rd. Toledo, Ohio 43613. This fund will be used for students gain access to environmental programs in the area.
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