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Derrol Elwood Pennington ’38

A picture of Derrol Pennington

Derrol Elwood Pennington ’38, January 8, 2015, in Milwaukie, Oregon. Born on a prune farm on Kiger Island in the Willamette River, Derrol and his family, including brother Lloyd [’39], later moved to Portland, where Derrol attended Reed as a day-dodger, commuting from the West Hills, along with Dorothy H. Taunton ’36. While at Reed, Derrol and Dorothy joined the Outing Club and the Mazamas. They camped, hiked, and climbed most of the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Derrol worked in the chemistry lab for his tuition and wrote a thesis on the carbon-hydrogen ratio with Prof. Walter Carmody [1926–41]. Derrol and Dorothy married in 1938, and he went on to Oregon State College and to the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a PhD in biochemistry and microbiology. He began teaching at the University of Oregon, but in 1943 was requisitioned by the U.S. Navy for submarine service. Following the war, he taught at the University of Washington, worked for a chemical company, and then joined Tektronix, where he met his lifelong friend Howard Vollum ’36. Derrol was a member of the board of Tektronix, the Beaverton School Board, the Foreign Policy Association, Great Decisions, and the Cedar Mill Library Board. He and Dorothy enjoyed square dancing, bridge, and classical music. Their gift to Reed of an 18th-century cello continues to reside with the college’s music department. Survivors include Dorothy, three children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. A daughter predeceased him.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2015

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