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Christmas Happiness — In memory of Nancy Penley

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Nancy Penley had a regular group of friends who sometimes ate together, but mostly talked about books. The group, the Brown Baggers Book Club, always met at the Salisbury Country Club. The 10 women are mothers and most, grandmothers now.

Penley didn’t get to enjoy the company of the women for long following her lung cancer diagnosis and subsequent death.

“She was a good friend to all of us,” said Julie Pinkston.

Penley had fought cancer twice before being diagnosed and her doctor told her she might not make it until Christmas.

Instead of wallowing in depression, Penley lived. She spent time with her family that included her three grandchildren. She died in June, a few weeks shy of her 64th birthday.

She said the members found solace in hearing Penley’s son, Brad, decided decorate his mother’s house this Christmas.

He found out from a book club member they were making a Christmas Happiness contribution in her memory. Brad Penley shared that he was decorating the house.

“It’s probably not the way she would’ve done it,” Pinkston said, “but we all got some joy at hearing that.”

The Brown Baggers Book Club got its name from original members who had club meetings at different homes where members brought lunch in a brown paper bag.

“I’m not an original member,” Pinkston quickly admits.

She has been a book club member for the last 10 years.

“We still meet 10 months out of the year,” Pinkston said.

“It’s something the book club has been doing for a long time — support Christmas Happiness,” she said.

“It’s hard for us to imagine a child getting up Christmas morning and there is no Santa Claus. Christmas is for all of us and for a child we think it’s so important for a child to have Christmas,” Pinkston said.

She and her husband have regularly given to the Christmas Happiness Fund.

Pinkston said she’s grateful that program has continued throughout the all of these years.

The Salisbury Post began the Christmas Happiness Fund 64 years ago when then-editor Spencer Murphy asked the community for help giving to area children. The program, as it does now, gave the community the opportunity to donate.

Eligible families are given vouchers that parents or guardians can use to buy toys or clothing for children.

Each donation is noted in a Post article in memory or in honor of someone.

Bring contributions to the Salisbury Post, 131 W. Innes St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or mail them to The Salisbury Post Christmas Happiness Fund, P.O. Box 4639, Salisbury, NC 28145-4639.

Make checks payable to the Christmas Happiness Fund and indicate how you wish your donations to be listed.

Today’s contributions are:

  • In memory of Haywood and Louise Basinger and Charlie and Etta Eagle by Carl and Dottie Eagle  $100
  • In memory of George Brown and in honor of Naomi Brown by Haley, Jordan, Bryson Loflin and Avery and Addison Carman  $50
  • In loving memory of the deceased members of the Spencer High School Class of 1955 $400
  • In honor of our Sunday School Teachers at First Presbyterian Church; Everyman’s Bible Class; Our Leader, Al Hoffman; Our Teachers;, Vic Bost, Keith Garner, Bob Harris, Bob Lewis, Tony Almeida, Jay Whittington, Dan Williams, Randy Lassiter, Rip Collins by Johnny Safrit $100
  • Everyman’s Bible Class; First Presbyterian Church, Salisbury and in honor of Alice Purcell and Al Hoffman  $300
  • In memory of Clayton, Jim and Viola Morris by Roddy Morris $50
  • In honor of Mom and Dad, Brandon and Brad Vinson by Neely, Taylor and Asher  $30
  • In memory of Bernard and Lorraine Williams and Clifford and Hazel Bost by Brandon and in honor of my Mom and Dad, Sheila and Joe by Brandon  $50
  • In memory of deceased co-workers at Rowan County Assessors Office, Jerry Rowland, Madolyn Yates, Virginia Kluttz, Mae Frances Johnnson, Binkie Williams, Vivian Mull, Chubbie Jordan, John Smith and Bill Snipes and Margaret Young  $30
  • In loving memory of Fred Josey by Billie Josey and Family  $25
  • In honor of SS Teachers Blessed Assurance Class of St. Peter’s  $100
  • In memory of Cecil and Ruth Bernhardt, Gilbert and Donna Bernhardt, Phil Bernhardt, David Deese, and Debbie Walker Bernhardt by Vernon Bernhardt  $100
  • In memory of Nancy Penley from Brown Baggers Book Club  $140
  • In honor of Holly Grant, Beth Dixon, Elizabeth Muth, Cora Greene, Winnie Mikkelson, Brenda Julian, Diane Labovitz by GNO Birthday Club  $600

Total $2,075

Running Total $35,689.57

Follow the stories and updates on community contributions via Christmas Happiness on Facebook

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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