Obituary photo of Penny Villegas, Orlando-FL
In Loving Memory of

Penny Villegas

1938 - 2021
Obituary photo of Penny Villegas, Orlando-FL
In Loving Memory of

Penny Villegas

1938 - 2021
Newcomer - Winter Park Chapel (407-678-4500) is assisting the family
Penny Benson Villegas passed away peacefully on August 14, 2021, in the home she loved and surrounded by her children who designed and built the house many years ago for her and her husband Frank. Her last days were filled with loving visits and messages from grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and old friends.

Penny was a lifelong seeker of spiritual inspiration, drawing wisdom from Catholicism, Sufism and Buddhism, among other paths. She drew to her many seekers like herself, and her daily life was characterized by conversations about the transparent beauty of nature and the search for wisdom.
In the same spirit, Penny was a curious and eager traveler, looking and listening her way through many countries, as common as Britain and as exotic as Morocco. She loved not only learning, but a good party – with music, dancing, laughter and the happy faces of her many friends.

Penny was a dedicated advocate of peace and justice wherever she found it lacking. Penny founded the Peace Studies curriculum at Valencia College, where she served on the Advisory Council for the Peace & Justice Initiative. She was a member of Amnesty International for 20 years, and also studied Conflict Resolution at the Eastern Mennonite University. She co-chaired numerous community outreach projects to educate and engage on the principles of peace and fairness.

Penny met her lifelong partner, Francisco Villegas, at college in Ames, Iowa, when they were in their 20s, and married in Rock Island, IL, where she grew up, in 1958. They moved to Medellin, Colombia where Frank was born, and she learned to speak Spanish fluently and immersed herself in the family culture; later that would become a book, The Heart Is Witness: Stories from the Life of a Colombian Woman – centered on Frank’s mother Luisa. The family then moved to Columbia MO, where Frank finished his Ph.D. and Penny her M.A. After several years, they moved to Enterprise, FL, where Penny taught at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home – an experience which deepened her sense of compassion. The family later moved to Orlando, where she taught at Valencia College for 30 years. The family built their home on acreage in the midst of Orlando in a tree-filled oasis, and Frank and Penny lived there for xxx years. In her retirement from teaching, Penny continued to pursue peace and justice initiatives.

When Frank died in 2018, they had been married for 60 years. She is survived by her children Thomas Villegas of Tennessee, Bill Villegas, David Villegas and Cristina Villegas Stewart – all three of Orlando. And by her xx grandchildren and xx great-grandchildren, all of whom will miss their beloved “Gram.”
Penny drew many like-minded people to herself - of all colors, nationalities, and beliefs – with her compassion, search for enlightenment, sense of humor and wisdom. She was much loved and admired.

A celebration of her life will be held later this year; the funeral will be private. The family wishes to thank the men and women from Visiting Angels and VITAS who cared for their mother with such skill and tenderness. Those who wish to honor her memory are requested to make a donation to the charity of their choice.
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Newcomer - Winter Park Chapel (407-678-4500) is assisting the family

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