Penelope (Rich) Wilson, 87, passed away on Jan. 11, 2020, in Malvern, Pa. She previously resided in East Swanzey, Richmond and Keene.
Penny was born in Weymouth, Mass., on Aug. 9, 1932, the daughter of Robert and Ethel (Carnochan) Rich. She graduated from Scituate (Mass.) High School in 1950 and from the University of Maine in Orono in 1954, where she majored in business administration and met Peter Wilson of Cranford, N.J. They were married in 1955 and raised five children.
Over the years, Pete’s employment with the Western Electric Company took the couple to Louisiana, Florida, New York and New Jersey, as they added to their family along the way. Penny always considered herself a New Englander and was happy to pull up stakes in 1969 and make a home in New Hampshire, where Pete was employed by C.R. Bard, a medical device firm with a plant in Fitzwilliam, until retiring as plant manager in 1990.
Most important to Penny was her home and family, which she devotedly nurtured and supported, a true homemaker with grace and style. Over the years they hiked and camped together, and later, Penny and Pete traveled to visit their children, but home was where Penny’s heart lay and all benefited from her love. As a longtime member of the First Congregational Church of Swanzey, she could always be counted on to help at the monthly dinners and bake something delicious on a moment’s notice. She had many hobbies to enrich her life, some of which included doing puzzles, watching the numerous birds that she would feed, offering them seed and suet (and battling the associated squirrels), growing flower gardens (fresh bouquets often arranged to enjoy inside), picking homegrown strawberries and local blueberries, making her legendary barbecued chicken, often followed by a backyard campfire and marshmallow roast or, on special occasions, homemade ice cream using an old fashioned hand-cranking device. Penny even tapped the maple tree on their East Swanzey property for homemade maple syrup to top her delicious pancakes. She was an avid reader, and there was always a book at her bedside table or near her favorite reading spot. She was also an accomplished seamstress and knitter, specializing in sweaters. In fall, Penny would bring some greenery inside, building terrariums constructed of plants gathered on their property — princess pine and partridgeberry. Penny so loved her New England landscapes and lifestyle.
Penny is survived by: four sons: Garrett and his wife, Lisa, of Sandy, Utah; Gregory and his wife, Renee, of Alta Loma, Calif.; Robert of Worcester, Mass.; and James and his wife, Laura, of Drexel Hill, Pa.; her sister, Melissa Rich Herman, and her husband, Ken, of Richmond; her brother, Robert Rich, and his wife, Dorothy, of Manakin-Sabot, Va.; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren, one of whom is her namesake. Her husband, Pete, died in September 2019; and a daughter, Rebecca, passed away in 2016. A memorial service will be held at a later date at the First Congregational Church in Swanzey.