The brightest star in our universe has fallen from the sky. After a four-month long battle with a very aggressive cancer, Penelope Ann O’Neill declared victory and entered a well-deserved eternal, peaceful sleep. Penny passed away at home in the early morning of August 11, 2019, with husband Tim holding her in his arms. Penny was born on October 2, 1949, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Although she was brought to upstate New York at a very early age, she proudly maintained her Canadian citizenship, and the red Maple Leaf flew next to the Stars and Stripes at their house in Los Gatos. Penny was a bright, independent and head-strong girl, growing up in Buffalo and Rochester. She left school at age 16 to open her own antique store, capitalizing on the wealth of treasures hidden away in old barns and sheds. It was a successful venture, and she came away with a personal antique collection and hands-on business experience. After a few years of dabbling in art history classes, learning to fly, car sales and the police auxiliary, she loaded a trailer behind her little Buick and headed across the country to join her father in Palm Springs. Such beautiful weather in December! But then July came, and she was drawn to the more moderate climate of San Jose. Eventually fate played its hand and she met and fell in love with her next-door neighbor, Tim Lundell, beginning their amazing 42-year love affair. Soon after their marriage they welcomed sons Patrick and Danny, of whom she and Tim have been so incredibly proud. Having moved many times as a child in New York, Penny’s dream was to have a permanent home in which to raise her family. That wish came true when Tim and Penny bought their first house in Los Gatos, and ultimately moved to the house of her dreams, the 120-year-old carriage house on College Avenue, where she lived for the rest of her life. Penny’s employment career had started early in the nascent Silicon Valley technology industry, working in the purchasing departments of Cramer Electronics, Verbatim, Ungermann-Bass, Versatec, and ultimately at Applied Materials, where she rose to the position of Senior Materials Program Manager despite never having completed high-school. Penny retired from Applied in 2003, and then her life really blossomed. Penny was an extraordinarily talented woman, demonstrated in her skills in interior design, gardening, crafts, and her own talents as an artist. She immersed herself in community activities and service, graduating from Leadership Los Gatos, joining and eventually serving as President of the Los Gatos Art and History Museum, and serving as Chair of the Los Gatos Arts Commission. When Tim became very active in Rotary, Penny became an honorary member of the Los Gatos Morning Rotary, and ultimately served proudly, just this past year, as his Rotary Partner during Tim’s year as District Governor. But more important to Penny than all of these roles was her one as Mimi to little grandson, Lincoln, who spent time with her each week playing, reading and learning from the grandmother he idolized. Tim and Penny traveled the world through cruises with a special group of friends who collaborated on where to go next. They visited every continent but Antarctica, although that one was on their bucket list. In recent years, they also discovered the fun of RV trips in their beloved Gizmo, an Airstream motorhome that took them to parks near and far many times each year. Tim’s upcoming retirement was going to open the door to even wider travels, before plans were changed by her cancer diagnosis. Penny loved people, and her smile and elegance lit up every room she entered. Having come from very modest beginnings, she had a special affection for people in service jobs, and always found ways to compliment them and to show her appreciation for their hard work. Throughout her life, Penny made her presence felt in so many ways, often overcoming serious obstacles to achieve her goals. Many called her a “force of nature”, which has made it all the harder to believe that she has gone from our lives when she had so much more to do. She confronted the cancer challenge with great dignity and resolve, showing the most concern for those who would be left behind. In her final event appearance as Tim’s Rotary Partner, shortly before her death, she composed and read a tribute to Tim that brought tears from many of those attending. That was her way, and the way that will be sorely missed by her many, many friends. Penny is survived by her husband, Tim, her sons Patrick Lundell (Grace), Daniel Lundell (Jennifer) and grandson Lincoln Lundell. Penny was a great lover of animals, and requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to your favorite animal rescue organization. A Celebration of Penny’s Life will be held in September, at a time and location to be announced.
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