Lynn Anderson Penner

October 14, 2020

CHARLOTTE – Lynn Anderson Penner, 72, of Charlotte, NC, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 14, 2020 after a five-year battle with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. She was born November 5, 1947 to her loving parents, Bertha and Kenneth Wulfert, in St. Louis, Missouri.

From a very young age, Lynn aspired to be an elementary school teacher. She graduated with honors from Normandy High School in St. Louis, Missouri in 1965 and went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1969. Lynn’s strong work ethic and meticulous nature helped her secure teaching positions across the country in Columbia, MO; Marina, CA; St. Louis, MO; Bloomfield Hills, MI; and Charlotte, NC. Throughout her 42-year career, she impacted the lives of countless children by instilling a love of learning, reading, and exploration. After retirement, she continued to surround herself with children by volunteering her time reading to students.

Nothing gave Lynn more joy than her role as a mother and grandmother. She devoted her entire life to her two daughters, Erin and Leah, filling their lives with magical memories, providing unyielding love, and supporting their every move. To them, she was a true example of strength and resilience. Fondly known as “Nana,” Lynn adored her four grandchildren. She often could be found scouring the shelves of the Morrison Library for the perfect books to share with them. From taking nature walks to practicing flash cards to baking cookies, Nana cherished every moment she spent with Lachlan, Calla, Dylan, and Luca. Also close to her heart were her beloved dogs, Greta, Angus, and Freida, who Lynn truly considered members of her family.

Lynn lived each day according to her core values and principles of integrity, kindness, and dependability. Her down-to-earth personality and warm, approachable demeanor connected her with many wonderful friends over the years who appreciated her sense of humor and self-described goofiness. Walking with family and friends was one of her favorite pastimes and she could often be seen wearing brightly colored, fluorescent tennis shoes and sporty attire. She loved searching for a deal and enjoyed browsing the aisles of Talbots, Marshalls, and T.J. Maxx. Lynn had a passion for traveling and was particularly inspired by the beaches and mountains of North Carolina.

As an avid fan of college basketball, Lynn relished the rivalry between her daughters’ two alma maters, Duke University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Although she supported both teams, her loyalty always remained with Coach Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils.

She is survived by her two daughters, Erin Penner Lanik of Charlotte and Leah Rachelle Penner of Washington, DC; son-in-law, Brandon Kareem Kennedy Gay of Washington, DC; grandchildren, Lachlan Joel Lanik (14), Calla Anderson Lanik (12), and Dylan Juliet Lanik (9), of Charlotte and Luca Kennedy Penner-Gay (18 months) of Washington, DC; brother, Kenneth Julius Wulfert and sister-in-law, Caroline Kunz Wulfert of Naples, Florida; nephew, Frederick Kurt Wulfert of Olathe, Kansas, and various other family members and close friends.

Lynn’s ashes will be laid to rest in the Columbarium at Covenant Presbyterian Church, a place that provided her with comfort and peace. A private family service will be held on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 11:00am. The family invites you to join them virtually for the live-streamed service at: or

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: The Elizabeth Lane Elementary School Media Center Memorial Fund, The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation or Covenant Presbyterian Church’s Read, Roar, Soar Program at Highland Renaissance Academy. Please make checks out to Leah Penner and mail them to 5277 Nebraska Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20015. Include your name, email address, and chosen recipient in the mailing. A collective check will be mailed to each recipient on December 15, 2020.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” -Albert Einstein

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at


Share your memories & condolences


  • Irene Carroll

    Lynn was a joyful character. She loved her family and friends and life! So sorry she left this Earth so early in her life. My condolences.
    Irene. Covenant member.

  • Mary Alice Adams

    Lynn and I were friends and neighbors in the building where we both lived. We shared many times together. She was a sweet and loving lady. Lynn will be missed by many, but I am happy for her that she is at peace.

  • Carl and Ruthann Penner Roberts

    Lynn understood something of the beauty, reverence, and ambience of living. She paid attention to traditions, celebrations, and memorial moments that make life so meaningful. For Lynn, raising a family was intentional: something quite serious and focused and something quite fun and adventurous. I will always cherish her correspondence through the handwritten note and will always remember encouragement received from those and the joy of sharing family life in those writings. One, in particular, following a lunch date with Erin and Leah, expressed how proud she was of their independence, goals, character, happiness, creative styles, and strength. On the 'classic Lynn' monogrammed note card, she ended by saying: 'I'm overwhelmed by these sweeties!' ...and signed: 'Love, Lynn'. May you grieve deeply and well in these days. She inspired us all. Here's to a life well-lived!!
    With our love, Carl/Ruthann Roberts; Matt/Katy Roberts/Melanie/Emily/Bailey;Josh/Meghann Roberts/Soren/Raleigh/Kelly; John and Jordan Balmer/Emerson

  • Dillie Matthews

    Lynn was my neighbor, walking buddy and dear friend. Over the years we shared many lunches, secrets, and wore out several pairs of tennis shoes. I remember how proud we were of achieving our goal of walking five miles a day. Wow, we did it.

  • Leslie Lampright

    Leah, Erin and Penner Family,
    There's another angel in good friend Lynn. She offered so much to so many over the years. Her dedication to students was admirable and she was always someone you could trust to do a task well. She was an amazing teacher who always thought of the little details.
    I have such fond memories of movies at the Manor Theater and dinners out. We celebrated many birthdays together in the mountains or a park...walking. Oh, how we loved those fall outings!
    Selfless, compassionate, organized and dependable all describe who Lynn was to me.
    My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Family was everything to Lynn.
    With Sympathy,
    Leslie Lampright

  • Cynthia Penner Foley

    Dear Erin, Leah and the Penner Family
    May you be comforted by the memories you have of Lynn and may you feel even closer to her now even though she is no longer physically present.
    We will never forget the kindness and encouragement Lynn extended to our family, especially after my mother's passing.
    She was always ready to share information about children, childhood education resources, yummy food ideas, holiday decoration projects, etc.
    Our children especially enjoyed her generous sharing of wonderful clothing with them.
    I remember the very first time I met her and the warmth and acceptance she expressed to me.

    We will keep you and your families in our thoughts and prayers in the days and weeks to come,
    Cindy and Carl Foley

  • Sally Swayne

    Leah and The Penner Family,
    I am so sad to hear of Lynn’s passing. She was such a special friend to me and so many others. I enjoyed our fun outings to the movies, lunch, and shopping over the years. I will always treasure my memories with Lynn. She shared her love of reading, children and education with her grand children, at Elizabeth Lane Elementary and at Dilworth Elementary. Lynn made an impact on everyone, She will be missed. With Deepest Sympathy, Sally Swayne