Auralia “Penney” Wren, who adopted Wise County as her home and served as a volunteer for decades, died Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 at the age of 84.
Auralia was born Feb. 28, 1929, in Kerens, Navarro County, but grew up in Eureka, near Corsicana and graduated from Mildred High School in 1946.
A few months later, while a student at Navarro Junior College in Corsicana, she went to a dance after a college rodeo and met Ralph, one of the rodeo participants. They were married Jan. 1, 1948.
Penney and Ralph settled in Decatur and over a period of eight years, gave birth to four children, who later gave her eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Penney enjoyed being active in the community. In 1967, she and four other women from the Methodist Church organized the Decatur Hospital Auxiliary to provide volunteers for the Darwin and Rogers Hospitals. There were 12 to 15 members of the organization.
In 1974, the Auxiliary volunteers assisted in the move to the new Decatur Community Hospital. She served as the first president of the Auxiliary at its new location and enjoyed the work so much that she later became an employee of the hospital.
She was also active in Wise County Theater in the 1980s and being an avid reader herself, was dedicated to the reading program at Rann Elementary. She volunteered her time helping children with reading difficulties.
Penney was also active in her church, teaching Sunday school, serving on committees and participating in many of the church’s activities.
While giving time to her church and community was important, she was devoted to her children and never missed an activity in which they were involved. She taught her children to respect others, especially those who were older, to take pride in their appearance and to become independent.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph Wren; son John Shannon Wren; father J.A. Penney; brother J.A. Penney Jr.; son-in-law Michael Schutze; great-grandson Carrington Cash Wren; and granddaughter Jessica Ashley Gage Bonesio.
She is survived by her son, Stephen Wren and wife, LaDonna, of Decatur; daughters Sidney Schutze of Dallas and Stephanie Gage and husband, Ronnie, of Mont Belvieu; her mother, Geneva Penney of Corsicana; sisters Bettie Evans of Corsicana and Barbara Christie and husband, Elton, of China Spring; sister- and brother-in-law Sis and Sam Renshaw of Decatur, and sister-in-law Beverly Shults of Dallas.
Penney has seven grandchildren, Jason Wren and wife, Jennifer, Landon Wren and wife, Holly, Courtney Daugherty and husband, Phillip, Staci Schutze, Nolan Schutze and wife, Hope, Julianne Gage and James Gage. She also has five great-grandchildren, including Samuel, Isaac and Anna Wren, Farrah Wren and Landry Schutze. She has a host of other relatives and friends and a devoted caregiver, Margarita Rodriguez.
Funeral was Aug. 19 at the First Methodist Church of Decatur with pastors Rusty Hedges and Brian Bosworth officiating. Burial was at Oaklawn Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Jason Wren, Landon Wren, Nolan Schutze, James Gage, Stan Shults, Sam Renshaw IV, Gary Penney, Grady Christie, Samuel Wren and Isaac Wren. Honorary pallbearers were Sammy Renshaw, Elton Christie and Charlie Long.
Memorial gifts may be made to Lewisville Education Foundation-Jessica Gage Bonesio Memorial Scholarship, Wise Area Relief Mission and First United Methodist Church of Decatur.