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Obituary: Helen Dawn Pennington

Helen Dawn Pennington

Helen Dawn Pennington

Helen Dawn Pennington, 7257 E Stoneaxe Dr, Valle Vista passed away at Kingman Regional Medical Center on September 15, 2016 after a long illness.

Dawn was born on a dairy farm in Springville, PA on February 9, 1944. She had a wonderful childhood growing up on the farm. As a young girl, Dawn was part of a children’s dance group that performed for various groups including elders in nursing homes. She had a horse to ride in holiday parades and had ponds to skate on. She learned to play the piano and later on a clarinet in the school band.

Like many farm kids, Dawn learned to drive at an early age. She would drive the farm tractor pulling the hay wagon while her two brothers would stack the hay bales. She was steering the tractor before her feet could reach the pedals.

Dawn’s father sold the dairy farm just as Dawn reached her senior year in high school. The family moved to South Daytona, Fla. After high school graduation, Dawn enrolled in cosmetology school at Mary Karl Vocational School, now part of Daytona Beach Community College.

After completing Vocational School, Dawn worked for several beauty shops in the Daytona Beach area, including her own shop over a career that lasted 30 years.

Dawn was married in 1961, a marriage that ended in 1969. Dawn had two sons; Donald Van Order (deceased) and Michael Van Order. Mike currently lives in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. with Dawn’s granddaughter, Savannah.

The 1960s was a great time to be in Daytona, Fla. Daytona International Speedway had just been completed. The Beach Boys music was hot and spring break was just catching fire. You could still drive your car on the beach, swim the surf, skimboard, and of course get a great sun tan. Dawn would often spend a day at the beach with her two sons.

Dawn got to see the great NASCAR drivers of the ’60s race on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. She saw the great motorcycle champions; Giacomo Agostini of Italy, Jarno Saarinen of Finland, and the great USA champion Kenny Roberts race the road course at Daytona International Speedway. These were exciting times.

On January 31, 1981 Dawn and her best friend Ed Pennington were married. Ed brought 3 children to the marriage, so it became a very lively household. Four teenagers about to become driving age are not recommended.

Dawn and Ed survived the years of teenage drivers, proms, graduations, etc. and in 1992 the youngest, Michael, enlisted in the Army (in time for Desert Storm) and Dawn and Ed finally got a honeymoon.

A one year adventure in Alaska resulted in them living on Kodiak Island for almost 15 years. Their vacations found Ed and Dawn visiting many regions of Alaska. Dawn visited Denali National Park several times. She camped out on the Yukon River, visited native villages, and walked with the great brown bears of Katmai. She managed to hook and land a 105-pound halibut. She took many road trips on Kodiak Island to view migrating whales and look for fossils on the black sand beaches of Kodiak. It was a wonderful 15 years.

While living in Kodiak, Dawn was employed by Safeway, a job from which she retired in 2004.

After retiring in 2004, Dawn and Ed rambled around finally settling in Kingman, Ariz. in 2009.

While only in Kingman for a few years, Dawn had many friends.

She was a proud member of the Ladies Morning Glories, Cerbat Garden Club, and a member of the St. John’s United Methodist Church.

A special thanks to the doctors and medical staff at Kingman Regional Medical Center who took care of Dawn during her illness and a special thanks to Pastor Michael Herdt of St. John’s United Methodist Church.

Dawn was preceded in death by Charles Fike, father; Helen Fike, mother; Donald Van Order, son; Garth Fike, brother; Robert Fike, brother. She is survived by Edward Pennington, husband; Michael Van Order, son; Marion Williams, sister; Savannah Van Order, granddaughter; Gregory and Joel Pennington, step-sons, Lisa Stark, step-daughter and grandchildren, Christopher Pennington, Christine O’Shields, Nicholas Pennington, Jeff Pennington, and Ian Wyatt.

On September 15, 2016 a bright moon guided Dawn to her special place in heaven.

A memorial service for Dawn will be held on Oct. 15 at 11am at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 1730 Kino Ave.

Dawn would have requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her name to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.