William Richard Penzien
June 28, 1921 – November 30, 2019
Lt. Colonel William “Bill” Richard Penzien, passed away November 30, 2019, after a long battle with cancer. Bill was 98 and resided in Orlando, Florida.
Bill was born June 28, 1921, in Grindstone, South Dakota. He was one of five children born to John Christ Penzien and Ella Mae (Stebbins). He grew up on a farm and gained a very strong work ethic early in life. After living through many droughts and the Dust Bowl years the family moved to Idaho where Bill attended High School, played football and gained his love for music. Bill had a beautiful tenor singing voice and got a scholarship to Columbia University to study opera. Not long after though, Bill decided to join the war effort and joined the service where he became a pilot for the Army Air Corps. After the war Bill returned to NYC to resume his studies. To earn some extra money Bill started modeling where he ended up meeting his future wife, Nancy B. Sims, also a model. A year later he was married to Nancy on December 31, 1947, in Hollywood, California.
Bill decided to make the military his life long career. He became an officer in the Army Air Corps and later with the Air Force Strategic Air Command continuing as a pilot where he ended up serving in three wars, World War II, the Korean War and the Viet Nam War. Bill loved all the planes he flew, however his favorites were the B-24 and later his all-time love was the B-52 bomber.
After retirement Bill worked in the Hotel Business in both Atlanta and Orlando, Florida.
Finally after a second retirement Bill enjoyed traveling the world. He also had a passion for music by playing the piano and guitar. Also he enjoyed his dog Thumper, his family and serving his neighbors. He is survived by his children; daughter Carolyn (Penzien) Paxton, husband, Bob Paxton, and son Jim Penzien, wife, Barbara, grandchildren Jeffrey Paxton and wife Emily, Alysia Weidner, husband Mark, Gregory Paxton, wife Stephanie, Kimberly Paxton , Kara Patton, and Olivia Farr. Bill also had eleven great-grandchildren that he was so proud of; Vanessa, Isabella, Ellie, Gwen, Savannah, Paxton, Will, J.D., Lochlan, Aila, and Everlee.
Funeral arrangements will be held at 12:30, December 8th, at the Woodlawn Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Gotha, Florida.
In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be given to the American Cancer Society.
- William is survived by his children; daughter Carolyn (Penzien) Paxton, husband, Bob Paxton, and son Jim Penzien, wife, Barbara, grandchildren Jeffrey Paxton and wife Emily, Alysia Weidner, husband Mark, Gregory Paxton, wife Stephanie, Kimberly Paxton , Kara Patton, and Olivia Farr. Bill also had eleven great-grandchildren that he was so proud of; Vanessa, Isabella, Ellie, Gwen, Savannah, Paxton, Will, J.D., Lochlan, Aila, and Everlee.
- Funeral Service Sunday, December 8, 2019
- Entombment Service with Military Honors Sunday, December 8, 2019
William Richard Penzien
December 6, 2019
Being part of a Mr. Penzien’s care team gave me a close-up view of his character. He was a man among men. His character was superior. Often, when I walked his four legged companion Thumper, his neighbors and friends would ask “is that Thumper” and I would reply yes. Their next question was “how is William doing?” There was this outpouring of genuine concern for Mr. Penzien. Neighbors delivered food (homemade chicken soup, cornbread, shepherd’s pie, lasagna). Mr. Penzien’s former rehab therapist and neighbors wanted to stop by and spend quality time with him. Random acts of kindness from his community is a true testament of the type of individual he was. I have great respect for him. I am happy to have helped make his remaining days comfortable.