Lawrence C. Penna

Lawrence C. Penna passed away on December 26, 2023

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  • | 10:55 a.m. January 11, 2024
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Lawrence C. Penna, a WWII vet, died at the age of 100 on December 26, 2023 at his home in Palm Coast Florida.   If everyone could be like him, what a wonderful world this would be.

Larry was born on April 10, 1923 at home, 61 Kermit Place in Brooklyn, NY with the given name of Placido Penna.   Placido is the Italian word for placid, or calm or peaceful.  Larry was indeed patient and kind.  Larry was trustworthy and fair-minded.  Larry was exceptionally polite and loving.  He was forever holding his wife’s hand.  When asked why, he would say, “So she can’t get away.”  If everyone were like him, we would all honor the Golden Rule, to treat others as we want to be treated. 

A lot of things have changed since Larry was born.  Larry was fortunate to have had hard-working immigrant parents, Domenico Penna & Lucia Giustra, who always managed to put food on the table for a family of 10 during the Great Depression.  In Junior High, young Larry’s dependability earned him the position of school crossing guard.   As a teenager, Larry’s “gang” sang in harmony on street corners, sometimes dressed in jackets and ties.  Larry’s buddies played baseball in the middle of the quiet NYC streets to fans cheering from their windows.  When they formed a baseball team, they would strut down Union Street in their Royal Bengals baseball uniforms, hoping to catch the eyes of admiring young ladies.  Can you imagine it; teenage ball players who fined themselves for any curse words!  Their pitcher received an invitation letter from the NY Yankees, but World War II got in the way.  Larry’s job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard exempted him from active duty.  But he enlisted anyway.   Even pacifists agree with the importance of standing up to The Third Reich.  When asked if he would be willing to fight in Italy, he replied, “I wouldn’t want to fight against my own relatives, BUT I’m an American first!”  His contribution to the war effort was in Cheshire, England, directing the crews that loaded the planes.  This is where he learned the knack of quiet command.  This tactfulness served him well in his printing career, where Larry handed out the work assignments to the Linotype operators at Hildreth Press in Bristol Connecticut.   His lifelong friends included his coworkers and their spouses.  He seemed to always be elected captain of his bowling team.  He earned the nickname, “Good guy Larry”.   At 100 years of age, when playing cards, he could add up his score faster than his engineer sons, and he still knew his army serial (dog tag) number.   Just two weeks before his passing, after watching YouTube videos of the 1939 World’s Fair, Dad lifted his glass and said, “To the Future.   Who knows what is going to happen.” 

As his wife Bea, the teacher, will say, the future for so many of us has much to do with education.  Although Larry enlisted during the last semester of high school, his education continued when the Army Air Force sent Larry for courses at Colorado State College in Fort Collins.  In the civilian world, Larry apprenticed for four- years with the printing guild which included the Elm Tree Press in Woodstock Vermont.  No car, no TV, no radio… just a few years of snow in a Currier and Ives setting, complete with a covered bridge.  Over the years, Larry took courses to learn every new development.  He advanced from Linotype Operator, to Copy Cutter & Markup Man, to Proofreader, to being in charge of Quality Control for the entire operation.  His quality skills had to be exacting, to satisfy customers like William F. Buckley’s National Review and Katherine Graham’s Newsweek.  One coworker once remarked that Larry knows a lot about printing, to which his son Elliot replied, “Yes, I know”.  The coworker went on to say, “No, I mean your father knows a LOT about printing.”

Some notable life events:  Larry was a Charter Member of VFW Post 7223 in Amityville, NY, and joined VFW Post 8696 when they moved to Palm Coast.  Larry’s sense of fairness brought balance to the unionization negotiations of The Hildreth Press.  Larry successfully petitioned the town of Bristol for curbs on sidewalks for the Surrey Drive neighborhood, adding value for the current residents to this day.  On August 14, 2014, Larry was named a Paul Harris Fellow by The Rotary Foundation.

Larry is survived by “The love of my life”, Beatrice “Bea” Zuppello Penna, who says she picked Larry because he made her laugh.  Apparently, being incredibly handsome had little to do with it.  They celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary this past Nov. 24th.  Larry also brought plenty of laughter to his sons, Lawrence A. Penna and Elliot W. Penna and their wives Helen and Donna, and to his six adult grandchildren: Lorraine Bonynge & husband Greg, Cynthia Leveillee & husband Jeff, Aaron Penna, Angela Bransfield & husband Eamon, Helen Burdette & husband Cory and Tricia Shelly and husband Jason.  All seven of his great-grandchildren cherished the time spent with their mandolin-playing great-grandfather:  Marie & Sarah Bonynge, Nora & Nathan Leveille, Caitlin & Emma Bransfield and Jacob Burdette.

This quotation certainly applied to Lawrence C. Penna:  “Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.”  (H. Jackson Brown Jr.)   

SERVICES:  There will be a time for gathering and visiting starting at 10AM on Saturday, January 13, 2024 in the Memorial Room of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church located at 4600 Belle Terre Pkwy, Palm Coast, Florida 32164.  A Funeral Mass will follow at 11AM in the sanctuary.  Inurnment will immediately follow at the adjacent Columbarium.

PHOTOS, RECOLLECTIONS & CONDOLENCES can be posted at or emailed to “The Family” (OK, so we are Italian) at [email protected].  

IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, promise to spend some quality time with someone you love or admire.


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