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Generation X: Helen Horne & Mitchell Clayton Penley

Mitch Penley's Eulogy

Mitch Penley’s Eulogy delivered by friend Herman Wattwood at the service in Kingsport, November 23, 2001

At a funeral service, we seem to always zero in on our loss, but for just a few minutes, I would like to talk about our gains as we think of Mitch Penley’s life on this earth. First, there is Helen’s gain of a strong, loving, faithful husband for well over fifty years. Then there is Linda’s, Karen’s, Priscilla’s and Michelle’s gain of a loving, concerned, responsible father all their lives to this point.

There has been our nation’s gain of a courageous Marine who fought in the South Pacific and was wounded there, defending you and me. There is the church’s gain of a faithful leader who served Christ’s church as a deacon, as an elder and as a major mover in four building programs. The space program gained the services of a very good employee for many years and all those who knew Mitch gained a lot from knowing and associating with a man of his caliber. I could follow this line of thought much further, but I hope you can see the point I am making. Mitch was a very special person and touched a lot of lives in very special ways.

I personally could speak for hours of my relationship with Mitch. I remember his great interaction with his girls. I remember my son, when he was very young, telling me that he felt sorry for Mr. Penley because he had to put up with all those girls at his house. I remember the two of us helping Helen and my wife Betty as they worked to start the First Christian Church in Titusville that now averages over 400 in attendance. I will miss our discussions on unions, politics, religion, which branch of the service was best, what make of car was best, and many other topics.

I must admit that I never succeeded in changing Mitch’s mind in 45 years, but I sure enjoyed trying. It has been a tremendous gain in my life to have served with Mitch as an elder for many years and to have had the privilege of being very, very close to him and his family. It is always a gain to work with people you love and respect.

Yes, there is a loss, but look at the gain. Mitch has gained freedom from his pain and his disability, he has gained peace and a home in a place that is better than we can possibly imagine.

We have gained the promise, that as Mitch’s brothers and sisters in Christ, we will be with Mitch again for all eternity. That is our hope and that is our faith...............