Billy Joe Pennington

Billy Joe Pennington, age 83, and a longtime resident of Duncan, entered into rest Sunday morning, March 13, 2016, at his residence.

Billy was born in London, Kentucky on August 27, 1932, the son of John Wesley Pennington and Ada Lee.  In 1935, Billy relocated, with his family, to Deming, New Mexico.  Soon thereafter, Billy’s mother passed away following the birth of his brother, Freddie.  His father again moved their young family eventually settling in Duncan where the family owned and operated the Corner Grocery Store.  Billy spent his formative years in Duncan attending school and participating in football and tennis. During his junior year of high school, Billy met Sammie Lou Hext.  They were later married at the First Baptist Church of Duncan on April 11, 1952.  Following his graduation from Duncan High School in 1951, Billy enlisted in the United States Air Force.  Together Billy and Sammie began raising their own family.  In 1953, they were blessed with the birth of the first of three daughters, Ada Marlene, who passed away prematurely just after her birth, Marcia Jo, in 1954 and later in 1957, Maja Lynn.  Following an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force, Billy returned home and obtained work with Phelps Dodge Mining Corporation in Morenci as a locomotive engineer.  He continued to dedicate his time and talents to the mine until his retirement in 1983.  Billy soon returned to work with the Arizona Department of Corrections at the San Jose Complex.  In 1993, Billy and Sammie subsequently retired.  In retirement they could often be found at various sporting events supporting the youth of Duncan High School.  Billy and Sammie reveled in being a “Papa” and “Nana” to their grandchildren.  Whether it was attending Boy Scout events, 4-H livestock shows, guide dog shows or sports, they were always present to give support and encouragement.  In 2002, Billy and Sammie celebrated 50 years of blissful marriage together, renewing their vows at the same church they had been married in in 1952.  In 2006, Billy and Sammie received devastating news.  Sammie has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She passed away in January of 2007.  Billy was a significant influence in many lives, will be greatly missed and will always be in our hearts.

Billy leaves to mourn:  his two daughters, Marcia Jo Jernigan (Richard) and Maja Lynn Baldridge (Michael); and four grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.  Billy was predeceased by:  his beloved wife of 55 years, Sammie; a daughter, Ada Marlene; his mother and father, Ada Lee and John Wesley Pennington; two sisters, Jessie Hall and Dorothy “Dot” Rowden; two brothers, Eddie and Freddie; and one granddaughter, Hilary Jernigan.

A Celebration of Billy’s Life will be conducted Wednesday morning, March 23, 2016, at 10:00 a.m., at the First Baptist Church of Duncan by Pastor Brad Boyd. Concluding services with military honors conferred by the Duncan American Legion Post #49 will follow in the Duncan Cemetery.

Online condolences may be offered at

Arrangements are entrusted to Vining Funeral Home.