Florence Penticoff, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and faithful friend to many, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, at her home in Cedar Rapids. Private services will be held. Teahen Funeral Home is serving the family.
She was born June 18, 1938, to Martha and Mauro Vallejos in Trinidad, Colo. Baptized as Martha Florencia Vallejos, she grew up surrounded by her many siblings and friends, playing in the shadows of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains. This was the foundation on which she built her life a life of faith, love of family and compassion for others.
She was truly a woman of faith and a woman of humanity. She reminds us all that these two things are not mutually exclusive. She showed us that you can walk to communion and then march for women's rights. That you can light an Advent candle and then laugh hysterically when you start the wreath on fire. That you can dance in the church pews and then dance in the kitchen after a wine-filled family dinner. That humans are humans, regardless of age, sex, color or belief system. That you should never stop laughing because no matter how dark the world may seem, there is light and laughter to be found.
Florence created beauty wherever she went. She found joy in her garden and could grow anything, including an orange tree in the middle of a Midwest winter. She loved music and singing, bursting into song in a crowded shopping mall, and singing to her dog Mocha at treat time. She was a master furniture refinisher, as evidenced by the beautiful antique pieces found throughout her house. She could often be found in the garage with her Jasco stripper, sanding an oak dresser and singing along to John Denver. She extended her creative gifts to quilting, crocheting and counted-cross stitching. The beautiful works she created will live on in her gifts to others and will be treasured forever. Her most cherished role was that of a mom, grandma and great-grandma. She looked at children the way we all should -- with hope and respect.
Florence is survived by her loving husband of 62 years, Eugene Penticoff; four children, Beth Penticoff, Joel (Jeanine) Penticoff, Greg Penticoff and Amy Penticoff; six grandchildren, Anthony (Jessica) Penticoff, Erin (Jory) Zunich, Megan (Robert) Welborn, Hannah Hageman, Jack Hageman and Maggie Kerwin; five great-grandchildren, Logan Penticoff, Maxwell Zunich, Amelia Penticoff, William Zunich and Harrison Welborn; sister, Jacque (Dave) Salazar; and brothers, Bert Vallejos, Gilford (Roberta) Vallejos, Steve (Alice) Vallejos, Stan (Leslie) Vallejos and Wally Vallejos; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Alfred, Jack, Arthur and Tom Vallejos; sisters, Jeanne, Evelyn and Eunice Vallejos; and sisters-in-law, Ann and Esther Vallejos.
Florence and Eugene lived, worked and raised their children in Freeport, Ill., where they resided for 41 years. They relocated to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2000 where they enjoyed sharing in their grandchildren's activities. In Cedar Rapids they joined their beloved place of worship, St. John XXIII, and met many wonderful friends.
Florence had a long successful career at the Illinois Department of Public Aid and Human Services, where she helped those-in-need receive assistance and support. She retired after 25 years, rising to the level of supervisor, the highest position allowed while maintaining her status in the union. She was an avid volunteer, and gave the gift of her time to the Suicide Prevention Hotline and St. Mary's Catholic Church in Freeport as well as the Catherine McAuley Center, St. John XXIII, Theatre Cedar Rapids, and the U.S. Cellular Event Center in Cedar Rapids.
Her family was immensely blessed by her presence in their lives. Her courage, resiliency and resolve showed us all how to live and die with true dignity and grace. We know it was only fitting that she hung on in her last days with all her strength to see that her vote in the 2020 presidential election was counted.
Instead of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation or the American Cancer Society.
Online condolences can be left at www.teahenfuneralhome.com.