Penelope 'Penny' Ann Wagner Peabody

Penelope 'Penny' Ann Wagner Peabody

Penelope “Penny” Ann Wagner Peabody, 78, passed away on Oct. 21, 2017, at home on Mercer Island, Washington, surrounded in love by family and friends.

Penny was born in Billings, on Feb. 4, 1939, to parents Claire and Pauline Wagner. She became a big sister to Mike four years later.

A 1957 graduate of Billings High School, Penny continued her education at the University of Montana in Missoula, earning both a BA (1961) and Master’s Degree (1968) from the School of Journalism. At Missoula, Penny was a driving force to establish KUFM, the U of M public radio station.

Warm and caring, Penny had a gift for bringing out the best in others; she was especially passionate about empowering women. In the workplace, she excelled at building trust, managing conflict and encouraging collaboration. She was a smart, accomplished professional.

Early in her career Penny worked as a reporter for the Associated Press State Bureau in Helena; the Kent News Journal in Kent, Washington; and for the Billings Gazette. Penny eventually moved to Seattle, Washington, where she held numerous leadership positions with METRO including two-time acting Executive Director and Chairman of the METRO Council. Penny also served as Chairman of the Board for Washington Dental Service, Washington Dental Foundation, Group Health Cooperative Community Foundation, University of Montana Foundation, Copper Canyon Press; President of the Seattle Rainier Club and Executive Director of Seattle/King County Economic Development Council. In recent years, Penny was a strong supporter of Seattle's Museum of History and Industry. As President of the Board, Penny worked tirelessly to create a new, larger facility museum, including the Peabody Oral History Tower.

While at METRO, Penny met and married Jerry, the love of her life. Penny and Jerry settled on Mercer Island where they built a beautiful Montana-inspired home. They spent summers cruising to Alaska on their motor yacht, the Kindred Spirit, and winters golfing at their La Quinta, California, home. Both Penny and Jerry loved to spend time at their house in Port Townsend, Washington, where they enjoyed the local culture and salmon fishing. Penny especially treasured hometown visits to Billings.

On Dec. 10, 2016, just 16 days after celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, Penny was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald (Jerry) Arden Peabody, Jr. She is survived by her daughters and their husbands: Victoria Peabody (Doug) Hansen of Marrowstone Island, Washington, and Mary Jane (Michael) Blanton of Sequim, Washington; grandchildren Madeline Peabody (Brent) Larson of Bothell, Washington, Doug C. (Shelagh) Hansen, Jr. and Helen Ann Hansen, of Seattle, Washington, and Isaac Peabody Blanton of Sequim, Washington. Penny is also survived by her brother and sister-in-law Michael and Barbara Wagner of Billings; nieces Pam Wagner of Red Lodge, and Holly Wagner of Laguna Hills, California; nephews Dan Wagner and David (Jennifer) Wagner, and great-nieces Claire and Camille Wagner all of Billings.

A memorial for Penny Peabody will be held 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Congregational UCC Church of Mercer Island, 4545 Island Crest Way, Mercer Island, Washington.

Please sign Penny's online Guestbook at

the life of: Penelope 'Penny' Ann Wagner Peabody
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