Call now for immediate attention: 772-999-5547

Call now for immediate attention: 772-999-5547

Marion “Mel” Penney

February 23, 1930 ~ April 12, 2020

Marion (Mel) Lippold Penney was born on the kitchen table in her parents’ home in Methuen, Mass, on February 23, 1930. After that experience, her parents had no more children. She passed away peacefully on April 12, 2020, Easter Sunday, shortly following her 90th birthday. Mel always lived life on her own terms.
She grew up in Massachusetts and loved her summers on Big Island Pond in New Hampshire, but she was a Floridian at heart, having moved to Palm Beach County by age 19, with her loyal cat Dinkyfout.
She married the late Ray Penney in 1952 and they had two children: Melinda and Bill. Mel was a devoted mother. She hauled Melinda to horse shows around the Palm Beach County, then South Florida, then the entire state, and eventually around the country. Billy was hauled to little league games, motorcycle racing and go-cart racing.
Mel loved animals and the Penney household was always full of pets of all sizes and species. There was Satchmo the poodle, Bandit the raccoon, Candy the Shetland pony, her beloved cat Dinkyfout and Hoppy the bunny. These pets were just the beginning of a long line of well-loved dogs, cats, horses, cows, gerbils and snakes. She added critters as necessary to fill the pet show criteria: frogs, tadpoles, turtles, and whatever else it took to be competitive. The pet menagerie often won big at the International Bazar pet shows in Rivera Beach
Mel was always creative when she needed to be. Not having a horse trailer, she learned to pull out the back seat of the 1959 Chevy convertible when she wanted to take Candy the pony somewhere. It grew to be a common sight to see Mel driving down the road with Candy side-ways in the back seat while the young kids held on in the front.
Mel started the first 4-H horse club in Palm Beach County and was its leader for years, even after Melinda aged out and was off to college. She touched the lives of dozens of young horse lovers, many who grew into local community leaders.

Mel and Ray often worked private parties in Palm Beach to earn extra money. Ray would tend bar and Mel would serve food. Customers soon asked her to prepare food, then bring food. This eventually led to her business, Mel Penney Catering, Inc. Her reputation and business quickly grew into a major catering operation.
During her catering career she met and served food to many celebrities including Carol Channing, Tiny Tim, Joe Montana, Alexander Haig and her favorite, Jimmy Buffet. Of course, they loved her food, its artful presentation and her charming personality.
During the summers off from catering she would fill her need to travel. She visited 53 countries. She loved Europe and Asia but her favorite destination was Africa. Her home was full of memorabilia sourced with love on these trips.

Domestically she was proud to have visited 49 states. She always apologized to North Dakota for not making it there.
Mel was competitive and independent. She wrote her own rules for life. Mel was a force to be reckoned with before women’s liberation.

Mel is survived by her daughter Melinda Gamot, her son and daughter in law, Bill and Karen Penney and her wonderful grandchildren Lindsay Penney Burcham (Jason), Carl Penney and Sammie Penney.

In lieu of flowers please donate to the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson Association of Indian River County at 2300 5th Avenue, Suite 150, Vero Beach, FL 32960.

Condolences may be shared online at


Susan O'Dare

May 17, 2020, 5:29 pm

Dearest Bill, Karen, Lindsay, Carl and Sammie
Understanding your pain, sharing in your grief for the loss of a extraordinary woman who lived a extraordinary life. She left this world a better place, leaving behind extraordinary children and grandchildren. A life well lived.
Sending to each of you special prayers for peace.
Susan O’Dare

Linda Wooten

May 17, 2020, 5:46 pm

Melinda, so sorry to hear about your mom. Loved reading ….brought back so many wonderful memories. Praying for you….

Eugene J. O'Neill

May 18, 2020, 12:28 am

Very sorry, Melinda & Bill, on the loss of your mother. I enjoyed meeting her a couple of times tailgating at the FAU football games. We talked about our common roots in the Commonwealth. Reading her obituary today I could tell she was quite an accomplished person and raised two great offsprings. My sincere condolences.

Tom Scorza(GT Auto)

May 18, 2020, 3:14 pm

Sorry to hear about Mel’s passing have fond memories working for her and her being a customer and neighbor working in same place! Had lot’s a fun doing parties and coming back to shop and continue the party. Rest in peace Mel!

Ned and Lorry Gartner

May 19, 2020, 12:25 am

Dear Bill, Karen and family:
You will remember your mother many times every day. No one is more precious.
Bless you all. Lorry and Ned

Donna DeFrancisco

May 24, 2020, 2:53 pm

I was honored to have been Mel’s neighbor for around 10 years when she moved into the Arbours in West Palm Beach. I have never met anyone quite like Mel Penney. I loved visiting with her as did my mom, we spent many an evening or day just talking. I was just enthralled by the stories Mel would tell us of her early days in Palm Springs when Military Trail was a dirt road, of the hi-jinks of Bandit, her exploits with her loyal Dinkyfout, catering to the rich and famous of Palm Beach, her world wide travels. Everyone should be blessed to have a neighbor like Mel Penney. Mel often reminded me that it was important to be a strong, independent woman of integrity and that it was equally important to be kind, generous and gracious. I am a better person for having had Mel Penney in my life.
My condolences to Bill, Karen and Melinda as well as to Lindsay.

AnnMarie Mouw

December 20, 2022, 1:31 am

Oh my Mel. She hired me from Maine to come and cook and work in the catering company with her. We had so many wonderful parties and people that worked with us. She was a great woman and we had a wonderful time together doing all the parties around Palm Beach County and else where. She was very generous and she loved her traveling. I’m so saddened to learn of her death . May she rest in peace. I love you Mel.

Leave a Condolence

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How can we help?

Our caring professionals are here to assist you and your family during this difficult time. We are available 24 hours, 7 days a week to assist in immediate arrangements or pre-arrangements.

Recent Reviews

  • The service from Millennium was outstanding. Rachel was sweet, personable and very comforting. It was important to me that my dad was kept locally where I knew where he would be. Very nice facility, state of the art and quality of my fathers remains were so refined compared to my mothers years ago. I highly recommend this place for an affordable choice for your loved one. Thank you for making an already stressful event easy. With high regards, the Esposito and Keith Family.

    Esposito and Keith Family

    Vero Beach
  • Millennium Cremation provided a fantastic service to our family at a difficult time. Our beloved mother passed away in Vero Beach and the rest of the family was in other parts of the country. Due to the Covid health crisis, none of us could get to Vero Beach in person. That's where Millennium took over. They helped us manage everything, coordinated with a cemetery in Maine, managed the obituaries, expedited all the paperwork, and even delivered an important document locally that saved us days. Funeral director Rachel was a godsend, and she made it clear what she was going to do, and what we needed to do. If you know what you want, Millennium is highly recommended, and the savings versus the full service mortuaries is significant.

    M. Cross

    Vero Beach

Direct Cremation Fee Includes

  • Transportation from the place of death to our family owned crematory
  • Basic alternative cremation container
  • Refrigeration of your loved one
  • Cremation performed by our crematory professional
  • Securing all required authorizations
  • Filing the death certificate
  • Notifying social security administration
  • If veteran, filing for free US flag
  • Assisting with newspaper obituaries
  • Cremains are returned to you in a temporary container

Other Fees That May Apply

  • Medical Examiner (fees vary by county)
  • Transportation outside 35 miles
  • Death certificates (fees vary by county)
  • Newspaper Obituaries (fee charged by newspaper)
  • Keepsakes
  • Permanent Urn
  • Jewelry
Skip to content