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Published: Sunday, 3/30/2003

Ex-Army nurse ran Defiance Head Start

DEFIANCE - Juanita Gallup Penney, a former Army nurse and a director for Head Start in Defiance County, died of emphysema Friday in her son's home in Rossford, where she lived since January. She was 80.

Mrs. Penney grew up in Missouri, where she graduated from a nursing college in St. Louis. She was a nurse at a hospital in Detroit for a year before a desire to travel motivated her to join the Army.

She spent three years as a nurse aboard an Army hospital ship, traveling to Australia, New Zealand, and parts of China.

Mrs. Penney retired from the Army in 1948 when she married Samuel Gallup. She raised seven children while the family traveled around the world following her husband's military assignments. The family lived in Germany, Okinawa, and several parts of the U.S. before settling in Defiance in 1972, the year Mr. Gallup died.

Mrs. Penney briefly worked as a nurse at Defiance Clinic and then interviewed at the Head Start office serving Defiance County. She showed up dressed in a suit and white gloves. The interviewer asked how she could possibly relate to poor people.

“Mom replied, `Well, are poor people any different?' She was hired on the spot,” her daughter, Lou Gallup-Roholt said. “She was a champion for people being treated fairly.”

Mrs. Penney worked as a director at Head Start from 1974 to 1987. She helped educate parents about proper nutrition and care for their children.

She received the 1983 Service to Mankind award from the local Sertoma Club.

In 1987, she married Milton Penney. He died in 1996.

Surviving are her sons, Marvin, Chris, Lawrence, Bill, and Tom; daughters, Beth Gallup and Lou Gallup-Roholt; 12 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Defiance. Visitation will be in Walker Funeral Home, Toledo after 3 p.m. Tuesday, and the Mast & Mock Funeral Home, Defiance, from 10 a.m. until services on Wednesday.

The family requests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township.

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