Longtime Wyoming resident Mary Francis (Wheeler) Pennell passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 in Elko. A memorial service and celebration of life is planned for late May or early June 2019.

Mary was born on Dec. 29, 1931 in Houston, Missouri, the first child of C.A. and Hazel (Carter) Wheeler. She and her family relocated to Midwest, Wyoming in 1940. Mary graduated from Midwest High School in 1949 and, after a short stint at Casper College, she joined the United States Women’s Army Corps. She was stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia and proudly served as the post librarian. It was there she met Bill Pennell. They married on July 8, 1950 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina by Rev. A. H. Outlaw and began a life journey that would last 53 years.

Mary was a devoted wife and mother, raising five children: Bill, Jr., Jane, David, Jill and Mark. She was a woman of faith and met life with grace and good humor. An active Baptist church member throughout her life, she enjoyed working with children and teenagers, teaching Sunday School, leading Bible studies, and working with Girl Scouts. Mary was quick to volunteer, helpful at school, church and around her neighborhoods. She loved her children deeply, praying for them daily and guiding them all through the mountains and valleys of life. Mary was a kind and fair mother-in-law, embracing her children’s spouses as her own. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren held a special place in her heart and she always wanted them to feel special, important and well loved. Mary was also an avid reader, loved picture and crossword puzzles, enjoyed Jeopardy! and played a mean game of Scrabble.

Mary is survived by her brothers Bill (Jo Ann) Wheeler of Cascade, Idaho, and Ken Wheeler of Coto De Caza, California. all of whom she loved dearly. She is also survived by her five children: Bill (Carol) Pennell of Elko, Wyoming; Jane Pennell of Apalachicola, David (Julie) Pennell of Elko, Wyoming; Jill Rourke of Apalachicola, and Mark Pennell of Casper, Wyoming; 14 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mary was preceded in death by husband Bill in 2003; her parents, brother Robert and sister Beverly.