Breaking: Bob Penney, titan of Alaska civic life, has passed

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On March 14, 2023, Robert Clark Penney, 90, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family. 

Bob had dedicated his life to his love for Alaska, the excitement of doing business, and most importantly, his family. His commitment to the great state and to sportfishing will be enjoyed by generations of Alaskans to come, his family wrote.

Bob Penney was the owner/broker of Penco Properties, an Anchorage based real estate brokerage company specializing in real estate investments, development, sales, and property management. He was born on May 3, 1932 in Portland, Ore. After graduating from high school, he relocated to Anchorage in 1951 to accept a position managing a lumberyard. In 1956 he began working in sales for Wade Trailer Sales. Building on this experience, he opened Penney Trailer Sales in 1959, specializing in used mobile homes. The company expanded into new mobile homes, RV’s, and construction camps for remote sites in the Alaskan bush. Through diligence and hard work, Penney Trailer Sales grew to become the largest mobile home dealer in the state of Alaska. Capitalizing on opportunities in the real estate market, Bob expanded to real estate investments and development through various partnerships and joint ventures. His development experience included single and multi-family residential projects, mobile home parks, commercial properties, retail buildings, and land development in nine western states and Mexico. He had numerous business interests and real property holdings in Alaska, Washington, California, Oregon, Arizona, Utah and Mexico.

The family requested privacy while grieving the loss of their husband, father and grandfather at this time and said memorial service details will be announced soon. 

“Bob was a titan. Everything he did was for the betterment of his family and the state of Alaska. We are lucky that he advocated and pushed us all forward. We will miss him dearly. And as Bob would say, ‘God bless the Kenai!’” the family wrote in their notification of his passing to friends.

“I loved my grandfather, and I admired him deeply. He and I were very close, and I will work to continue his legacy of good works for Alaska,” said Clark Penney, his grandson.

Bob Penney’s long history of community involvement included:

     -​ Anchorage Chamber of Commerce​

    -​ Anchorage Economic Development Corporation

    -​ Alaska Regional Hospital Board of Trustees

    -​ Kenai River Sportfishing Association

    -​ North Pacific Fisheries Management Council

He has held several leadership positions, some of which were:

    -​ Vice President, Anchorage Organizing Committee (’92 & ’94 Winter Olympic Games)

    -​ Chairman, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce

    -​ Founding Co-Chair, Organization for Management of Alaska’s Resources (now Resource Development Council)

    -​ Founder, Anchorage Mayor’s Charity Ball, Inc.

    -​ Founder, Kenai River Sportfishing Association

    -​ Founder, Kenai River Classic.

In later years, Bob and his wife split their time between their home, “River Presence” on the Kenai River in Soldotna, during the summer and their Vintage Club property in Indian Wells, Calif. for the winter months. They have four grown children, 10 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

KRSA Bob Penney: https://youtu.be/FvfniOHeamM

14 COMMENTS

  1. His legacy will be that he wanted everyone to benefit from the Alaska fisheries resources. He did not just talk the walk. He put millions of his own money to protect King Salmon resources and to enhance habitat that produced Salmon. He will be missed by almost everyone, save the commercial fishing fleet on the Kenai who are rejoicing his passing.

  2. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Penney and thought he was a very good man. I did not know what an admirable person he was. Or what a top-notch business manager he was. God rest his soul. And my condolences to his family and friends.

  3. As I expected. I Just read comments about Bob Penney’s death on the Upper Cook Inlet Drift Association ( UCIDA) and Kenai peninsula fishermen’s association ( KPFA) Facebook commercial fishing sites.
    They were grossly anti Penney and seemed to imply “good riddance” or worse. These insensitive, shameful, and hateful comments and their authors and the two Associations should not ever be forgiven or forgotten.

    • Well he basically uprooted a way of life for people that had a sustainable fishery. Which completely went to hell when they stopped managing it for the fish, and managed it for tourism. I’m not condoning dancing on someone’s grave, but they have every right to be frustrated with the rights that were taken away from them that they paid for and the livelihood and legacy that was taken away for someone flying up to Alaska for a long weekend to snag a king population that is dwindling due to the sports fishing pressure.

      • Chris, when you base your livelihood on a natural resource, you’re gambling that the resource remains at a level that allows your take. Same as the guides, or even people in ancillary businesses pertaining to it.

      • I am sure that many share your thoughts, but, there are times and places where ones thoughts should be kept to themselves.

  4. A local man passes away and some people just can’t resist making snide political statements. Regardless of our personal feelings, can we please let the dead rest and show some empathy for others in their time of mourning? Shameful conduct in this small community.

  5. Bob Penney was a great man. His family continues with his passion for Alaska. Darroll Hargreaves from MatSu also passed this week. A great educator and a stalwart Republican. Bless both of them.

  6. Words & Deeds are two different things; some get measured unevenly but a life among us all should be admired for what contributions in gratitude were made ! Each and everyone of us did it their own way ,no doubt he did. God Bless his soul for the good he did & my wish for others is to remark in the same fashion. Its for some to seek their own selfishness to say whatever! This current culture isn’t normally American . I for one will not let it go unnoticed.
    Rest in peace Mr. Penny. & condolences to his family and friends.
    The Ed Martin Jr Family, local to the Kenai.

  7. Deep condolences to Henry and the rest of Bob’s family. Such a loss and such a pioneer. I don’t care what your personal Kenai River sport fishing beliefs are. Just admire and celebrate this guy for his service to the Kenai and his family legacy. I mean Seriously! He paid his dues during some very difficult and trying times in Alaska when some of you weren’t even glints in your daddy’s eye. Did he and his legacy gain financially? Yep. He worked like a dog and he earned it. Rest in Peace Bob. You did good.

  8. My deepest sympathies to Jeannie, Henry and the rest of the family.

    Whether you agreed with him politically or not, he definitely helped to shape the state of Alaska.

    He will truly be missed.

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