Linda Carole Russell Pennington, 76, of Hunters Lane, Morehead, Kentucky, beloved wife of Harvey T. Pennington and mother of Shelley Brooke Pennington, passed away June 24, 2021, at Cabell Huntington Hospital, in Huntington, West Virginia, after a brief illness.
Linda was a native of Grassy Creek, Morgan County, Kentucky, and was born May 24, 1945; her parents, Charles and Crystal Russell, were loving parents who lived on a small farm. Linda had one brother, John Charles Russell, who presently resides in Stow, Ohio.
Linda had a bunch of cousins and older relatives who lived nearby when she was growing up…and Linda loved going to school.
In 1963, Linda was Valedictorian of her Morgan County High School graduating class. She later attended Morehead State University, graduating high in her class, and earning a teaching certificate. Later, she earned her Master’s Degree, also from MSU.
Her first full-time teaching assignment was at Lafayette High School, Lexington, Kentucky, where she taught high school English for two years (1968 and 1969), while her husband, Harvey, was completing his last two years of law school at the University of Kentucky. During summer breaks, Linda (and Harvey) worked with the Upward Bound program at Morehead State University.
During 1969-1971, while her husband was serving in the U. S. Army, and stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, Linda moved to Colorado Springs to be with him, and found work with a law firm in that city; later, she was employed as a case worker with the El Paso County, Colorado, Welfare Department.
After her husband’s active duty assignment with the Army was completed, Linda and Harvey returned to Morehead, Kentucky, where he began his law practice, and Linda (after being briefly employed as a child welfare worker), became employed as a full-time English teacher with the Rowan County, Ky., school system. This was definitely her calling in life.
Known fondly by her students--and fellow teachers and administrators—as simply “Mrs. P”, Linda devoted her life and skill to that profession; a profession in which she took so much pride. She loved teaching, and she loved the students she taught.
Linda’s extreme pride and devotion to her profession was exhibited not only by her teaching skills in the classroom, but also in the genuine personal contact and concern she had for her students—especially those who were raised in more needy families—or those students who may not have quite “fit in” with the more popular students. Also, she served as a trusted confidant to many students and friends.
Linda did take one break from teaching—when her (and Harvey’s) daughter, Shelley Brooke Pennington, arrived in 1980. Linda proved herself to be as great and devoted a mother as she was a teacher. Linda’s love and pride in Brooke knew no bounds, and that pride was apparent in Brooke’s every accomplishment—perhaps never more so than when Brooke graduated as valedictorian from Rowan County High School, just as Linda herself had done at Morgan County High School about 35 years before.
And Linda was no stranger to the out-of-doors pursuits! During summer breaks from school, she sometimes hunted with her husband, hiked in Canadian and western U.S. mountains, canoed and fished in Canadian lakes and in streams and lakes in Maine, played tennis, and competed in long-range buffalo rifle matches in Montana, one year placing fourth in the women’s competition. Linda also spent time helping wives on friends’ ranches in Wyoming and Montana.
She could also be a little fearless at times; on one occasion, while camped in Canada on a canoe trip, a bear raided a pack carrying Linda’s and Harvey’s provisions; the bear, however, made the mistake of returning a little after dawn the next morning. Linda, who was livid that the bear had eaten all of their Velveeta cheese and Crisco, grabbed a handful of rocks and started throwing them at the bear. Despite Harvey’s warning that “Linda, I don’t think it’s a good idea to chunk rocks at a bear,” “Mrs. P” continued throwing rocks until the bear had had enough and scooted off through the brush.
In 2005, when Harvey’s cousin, C.G. Clayton, his wife, Anne, and their kids, Ava and Tim, moved back to Kentucky from Kansas, they asked Harvey and Linda to help them find some playmates for their son, Timothy, who was 12 years old at the time. This eventually led to a group Linda and Harvey named the “Borrowed Grandchildren,” who watched movies, learned to hunt, learned to play a little music, and learned to camp—and, incidentally, added much excitement around their house. Those Borrowed Grandchildren are here today.
Linda also played a different role, and did it well: she managed the caretakers for both Harvey’s mother and her own mother in their later years. She was always generous with her time, her love, and her smile.
So, as we celebrate a beautiful woman whose life has meant so much to so many—as a teacher, a friend, a caretaker, a mother and a wife—perhaps the simple words of a Montana friend summed it up best when he wrote, “Heaven gained an incredible angel.”
A celebration of Linda’s life will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 29, 2021, at Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals Memorial Chapel with Dr. J. D. Reeder and the Rev. Aaron Coyle-Carr officiating. Burial will follow in New Alfrey Cemetery.
Pallbearers: Tim Clayton, Evan Lowe, Errick Lowe, Clarence Clayton, Dennis Human, Ron Suttle, and Don Evans.
Honorary Pallbearers: John C. Russell, Arv Allen, Leo Blair, Tom Baley, John Jayne, Floyd Lowe, Bud Salyer, and Bob Woford.
Visitation will be 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, June 28, 2021, at Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals, 400 Fraley Drive, Morehead, KY 40351.
In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to the Linda Pennington Scholarship Fund, which is being established in her memory, at Rowan County Senior High School.
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