Laurel Diane Penn

Laurel Penn, 71, of St. James entered her heavenly home on, October 25, 2019 after a long battle with cancer.

Funeral service and burial will be Wednesday, October 30 at 11:00 am at Albion Lutheran Church, rural St. James. Visitation will be Tuesday, October 29 from 4:00-7:00 pm at Sturm Funeral Home in St. James and will continue at the church one hour before services.

Laurel Diane (Wigand) Penn was born July 9, 1948, to Sylvester and Doris (Brandt) Wigand. She grew up in rural Henderson and graduated from Henderson High School. In 1970 she graduated from Mankato State University with a teaching degree. She married Eric Penn on June 14, 1970 in Henderson. They lived in Iowa for a number of years before moving to St. James in 1979, where they raised their three children.

Laurel was a devoted mother and grandmother. Nothing made her happier than taking care of others and her three children and five grandchildren were blessed by this care. She thoroughly enjoyed watching her family members’ activities and was happy to provide transportation and food whenever needed. She loved pictures and she loved capturing her family – close and extended – in pictures whenever she could. It was her way of keeping those special people close to her, honoring our connection as family and knowing that our time together was limited. Laurel worked at Butterfield High School as a Business Education teacher for 29 years. She carried her mothering over to every one of her students and taught them more than what came from their textbooks. She developed relationships with her students and co-workers that lasted well beyond their time together at school. Laurel faithfully served her church and the United Methodist Women. She also participated in St. James Christian Women and Sertoma.

Laurel is survived by her husband Eric of St. James, children: Chad Penn of St. James, Carlie (Brian) Olson of Hanska, and Cory (Hannah) Penn of Rochester, 5 grandchildren (Tanner, Cooper and Sawyer Olson; Kayla and Khloe Penn), mother Doris Wigand of LeSueur, siblings; Lois (Lance) Twedt of Inver Grove Heights, LaDonna (Tom) Bender of Henderson, and Larry (Stephanie) Wigand of Henderson; brother-in-law LeRoy Penn of Spanaway, Washington; and so many beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, neighbors and friends.

She was preceded in death by her father, Sylvester Wigand, father in-law and mother-in-law, Frank and Margaret Penn, and sister-in-law Tamie Penn.

Laurel cared deeply, helped others, had a strong Christian faith and was a mother to everyone she met. Everyone who knew her will feel the loss of her love.