Rebecca (Becky) Pennel Young passed away on Nov. 16, 2023. She was born on Jan. 19, 1935, to Opal and Carl Pennel, the third child of eight.
A bright and engaged student, she skipped several grades to graduate from Republic High School in 1951. She graduated from Southwest Baptist College in 1953 and finished her undergraduate degree at Southwest Missouri State in 1955.
She met the love of her life, Charles Young, at Tatum Chapel in Greene County. They corresponded and dated for a time and married in December of 1955. He preceded her in death in 2010, and she missed him terribly for the rest of her life.
She worked in schools throughout the U.S. and Spain including Willard and Springfield.
When they retired from the Air Force in 1971, she and her family moved back to the Springfield area.
Music was the major focus and love in her life. She was an accomplished organist, pianist, and choral director. She played professionally everywhere she lived. After moving to Springfield, she was the principal organist at Grace United Methodist from 1974-2000. After her “retirement,” she realized she wasn’t really ready to give up on the music and continued to play at St. John’s United Church of Christ, Campbell United Methodist, and at the Baptist home in Ozark where she lived from 2017-2023. Her membership in the American Guild of Organist and Keyboard gave her great pleasure.
She made history in 1972 by becoming the first woman elected to the school board in Willard. She also managed Dennis Smith’s Missouri State Senator Springfield office during his tenure. In 2013, Southwest Baptist University bestowed their Life Service Award in recognition of her years of service and dedication to the school.
She is survived by her daughter, Karen (Lyndall) Dodson; son, Chuck (Deana) Young; brothers Leon (Judy) Pennel and Don (Jean) Pennel; sisters-in-law, Patsy Pennel, Diane Pennel, Paula Pennel, and Georgia Herod; two grandchildren; one great-grandchild; as well as her nieces and nephews, and so many friends from so many different parts of her life who will miss her presence.
She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Carlene Pennel; brothers, Franklin, Gayle, Lawrence and Larry Pennel; sisters-in-law, Cheryl Pennel and Joyce Pennel; and an extra special nephew.
Visitation and services were held at Grace United Methodist on Nov. 21. Burial followed at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Springfield.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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