John Arthur Penrod, 94, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Florida, Spanish Civil War, and WWII veteran, passed away April 12, 2008 at North Florida Regional Medical Center. "Jack" is preceded in death by his wife of 52 years Jane Louise McAllister Penrod. Jack was born in Anniston, Al on December 8, 1913. Jack attended Johnstown High School and attended the University of Pittsburg. Greatly influenced by the Great Depression, Jack and Jane dedicated their lives to political activism, as labor union supporters and peace and human rights advocates. As a member of the North American Volunteers of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, Jack fought against the fascist regime in Spain. He served in Spain from 1937 to 1938, seeing action with the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion Wounded in battle, Jack continued to serve as an ambulance driver for the balance of the war. He returned from Spain in December 1938 and married Jane in Johnstown Pa. Jack taught English at the University of Miami, and then settled in Gainesville at University of Florida, where he enjoyed a 30-year career with the Humanities and English Departments. He received the first Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1965, and a Fulbright Teaching Scholarship in 1967. He is remembered by hundreds of students as a passionate lover of American poetry and literature. Actively involved in environmental causes and Amnesty International, Jack also volunteered for Meals on Wheels, "English in Action" and "Vocalize," a reading service for the blind. Jack was an avid supporter of the Ham Museum as a docent and attended the Hippodrome Theatre since its initial production.
is survived by two daughters, Julie Penrod GIenn of Mica nopy and Jill Penrod McGuire of Melrose; three grandchildren, Kathryn Anne Colson of Mamaroneck NY, John Penrod Colson of Chicago, IL, and Meghan Eva McGuire, of Indialantic FI.; and three great grandchildren, Max Morgan Templer, Georgia Jane Colson and Quentin Leonard Colson; wife, Carol Giardina of New York, NY; and dearest family friend, Jim Stephen. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to: Abraham Lincoln Brigade, NY (ALBA) or Amnesty International.
Published in the Gainesville Sun from 4/18/2008 - 4/19/2008