Penny Nelson Newman

Penny Ann Nelson Newman (70) passed away at her home in Kanab, Utah surrounded by loving family and friends on July 28, 2022.
She was born July 22, 1952 to Kenneth Eugene and Frances Helen (Nelsen) Nelson in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She had one brother, the late Kenneth E. Nelson, Jr.
She married Russell Newman in 1985. They later divorced, however remained good friends and she continued a loving relationship with the Newman extended family for the remainder of her life.
Penny grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She graduated college in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.
After college, Penny served 2 years in the Peace Corp in Botswana, South Africa. She then worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources after which she was employed by the U.S. Forest Service at the Chequamegon National Forest in Wisconsin eventually transferring to the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, the Nez Perce National Forest in Idaho, then back to Wisconsin. Penny received many accolades throughout her career for developing diversity programs within the Forest Service. She lived many years in Washburn, Wisconsin and retired in 2016 as a National Park Service Ranger, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Penny’s calling was service to others, humans and animals. She volunteered for numerous organizations including 4H, Habitat for Humanity, various animal shelters, training dogs for Dogs for the Deaf, Canine Companions for Independence, Paws for Love, teaching puppy training, etc. She also trained as an EMT in Idaho. She was always involved in fundraising efforts for her causes and relentlessly advocating for diversity and combating discrimination.
Penny spent her retirement in Kanab Utah, volunteering for her greatest love, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Penny especially enjoyed road trips with family, friends and the animals. Which explains the many trips she made transporting shelter animals around the country.
Penny never had children, however she was especially fond of Aly, Aydin, Asher, Josh, Chris, Kimberly, James, John, Joseph, Jacob, Morgan, Mitchel, and Colin. Her special canine family included Champ, Radar, Duke, Prima, Belle, Josie, Lindy, Thora, and Frido along with felines Sparkles, Subway, and Roswell.
Survivors include her sister-in-law Mary Nelson of Mesquite, NV, (wife of Kenneth), nephew Austin Nelson (Andrea) of Waukesha, WI, grandniece Elena Nelson of Waukesha, WI, along with many cherished Nelson and Newman family members, loving cousins and dear friends.
The family would especially like to thank her friends Kira, Cindy, Karin, Kathie, Paula, Gail, Allison, Jacquie, Jes, Karine, Ali, and Julie, also home care helpers Donna, Priscilla and Stephanie, as well as Zion’s Way Hospice Nurses and CNA’s for their exceptional loving care during Penny’s illness.
A memorial Service will be held Thursday, August 18, 2022, at Angels Overlook, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Kanab, Utah, 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm. Another service will take place in Washburn, Wisconsin at a later date.
Memorials may be sent in Penny’s name to one’s favorite local animal shelter, rescue, or advocacy group.
Penny always said: “It’ll all be OK.”



  1. Baruti Serabe August 6, 2022 at 3:26 am - Reply

    She taught me biology in Botswana. She was a wonderful teacher and an even greater human being. She will be greatly missed.

  2. Joan Kiewit August 9, 2022 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    Penny was our favorite dog sitter of Earl for many years.

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