RIP – Donald Lee Penn – my father

R.I.P. to my father, who died doing something he absolutely loved – scuba diving – due to complications resulting from cancer that we think he didn’t even know he had. His death is felt very deeply in my heart.

My dad, as far as I know, didn’t know he had stomach cancer.  From the medical report, it seems he was late stage III or even stage IV.  From my research, it seems that this is common – to not know you have stomach cancer until very late indeed.

I find quite a lot of peace, thinking about the fact that he died doing something he loved… on a trip with his partner of 44 years (my mom)… and did NOT suffer and long and painful struggle with stomach cancer treatment and pain.

There are many things I admire about my dad.  One of the biggest?  His sense of adventure and willingness to learn new things…  Last summer, for example, he built an electric-assist bike and then proceeded to ride it all over… even to go play golf with his buddies.

I miss him.


About rleepenn

I'm a mom and a chemistry professor, and I love to ride bikes! On July 29th, 2011, I received the news that I have breast cancer. This is my blog....
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8 Responses to RIP – Donald Lee Penn – my father

  1. Lee Penn says:

    I had met your father a few times when I visited Austin or Colorado over the years, and always enjoyed the time with him. I think that you and I also got to know each other at Uncle Bill’s funeral in Midland in 1996.

    D. Lee Penn will be missed; eternal memory!

    If you ever want to talk, e-mail me and I will send my phone number.

    Lee Penn

  2. Donna Niesman says:

    Your father was a classmate of my sister, Di, and I at Beloit-classs of ’68. While in school, I thought he was one of the smartest and nicest guys I’d ever met. Over the years, I, as class agent, could always depend on him for his loyalty and generosity to our alma mater. Thank you for writing this on your blog-I read about his death just now on facebook (from classmate D. Roger Dixon-not his “D” is for Dexter). Way too young, but clearly he lived life to its fullest. what an inspiration.

  3. Jim Mirick says:

    Wow — so sudden, so sad. Lee was one of my first friends at Beloit, and good friends and fellow denizens of the old South College basement computer center. It was wonderful to know him and fabulous to re-connect via Facebook.

  4. D. Roger Dixon says:

    I knew your father for 46 years. He was one of the first people I met at Beloit. He and I would have friendly arguments about the South and about Texas. Even though we went on to pledge different fraternities, we remained friends. Your dad and your mom played some fierce bridge contests with me then. Then when they moved to Cincinnati, my home town, I saw them many times. Lee was so charming to my late mom and had her over to his house a few times. Lee was a fine man who grew over the years from the “rube” I called him my first year at Beloit, to a sophisticated, direct, open-minded and loving human being. I will miss him.


  5. christisne Beard says:

    i assume that lee penn is the same we knew in cincinnati, married to sue? amazed i came across this link….was looking for an obituary, was there one at one time??? we knew Sue and Lee from Gourmet group and welcome wagon/wagon wheels…and met you and your sister at various times…
    christine Beard

  6. christisne Beard says:

    I knew your father and mother in Cincinnati, and have kept up christmas card news each year..we belonged to a Taste and Swap group in Wagon Wheels..and also attended other functions with your parents..I remember you and your brother Keith..we lived in Cin. about 13 years..transferred to Atlanta almost 30 years ago!! but did visit with your parents when we would get back to Ohio to visit our son that remained there and married…so nice to see your news on line..

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