Penelope Bogart Rodman

Published 12:19 pm Friday, May 3, 2019

Mrs. Penelope Bogart Rodman, age 89, of Washington, died at her residence in Williamsburg, Virginia, on Monday, April 29, 2019.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, 2019, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, officiated by the Rev. James G. Reed. Burial will follow in Oakdale Cemetery, with fellowship to follow at St. Peters.

Penny is survived by her children Penelope, George and David; their spouses, James Justice, Betty Rodman and Cate Rodman; and her grandchildren, Rebecca Hale and William Justice, Spencer and Will Rodman, David Arnold and Katie Whait; her great-grandchild, Johanna Hale; and Penny’s nieces and nephews, Helen Bennett, Henry Owen, Sally Ann Roberts and Robert Owen.

Penny married George Farnell Rodman in 1956 and spent her married life raising their children in exotic locations that no one had heard of until decades later — places like Arabia, Burma, Ethiopia, Nepal and Afghanistan. There were civilized postings, like Denmark and New Zealand, and hard posts like cold war Poland and Yugoslavia. Penny loved the adventure of the primitive places the most. She trekked the Himalayas, camped in Kenya and sailed the Irrawaddy. She attended dinner with royalty, dined with Neils Bohr and butchered a cow to stock the larder. In days before the internet or even reliable phone and mail service, she kept house and raised her family with whatever was available in primitive places.

Her life spanned time and distance, times of plenty and times of want. She reminded us that in her younger years, she remembered putting an apple back at the grocery store when the week’s grocery budget wouldn’t stretch that far. But there were also times she ran a household in the best tradition of the Victorian British empire, with fresh lime served on the veranda before dinner.

As much as she loved the adventure of living overseas, home and heart was always in little Washington, where she was born and raised. A tomboy and a prankster growing up, Penny and the boys in the neighborhood roamed Market Street, pulling practical jokes and getting laughs. Like a homing pigeon, Penny brought her children to spend summers in little Washington from whatever part of the world they might be living. When retirement approached, there was never a question of where she and Farnell would settle down. Penny taught herself architecture and drew up the plans for their retirement home, which was built at Shady Banks where her father-in-law had a summer cottage. An early widow, Penny lived on in the home she designed and found new outlets for her energy. She volunteered at the Estuarium, did swim aerobics and played cards weekly with her faithful friends.

In the last two years, battling a number of health issues, she closed up her beloved house at Shady Banks and took up residence in Williamsburg, Virginia, to be closer to family and remained active until the end. She continued to volunteer to “help the old folks,” fixing computer problems and raising spirits with visits to the housebound. Penny enjoyed life right up to her last day.

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Paul Funeral Home & Crematory of Washington is honored to serve the Rodman family.