Longtime Alaska businessman Bob Penney dies at 90

Bob Penney dead at 90
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 1:31 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Bob Penney, a longtime Alaska businessman and the founder of the Kenai River Sportsfishing Association, died Tuesday at 90 years old.

His family said in a statement to news media that he “passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family.”

In addition to founding the Kenai Peninsula’s largest nonprofit dedicated to preserving the massive Kenai River watershed, Penney was also the founder of the Anchorage Mayor’s Charity Ball and the Resource Development Council.

Penney was the owner of Penco Properties, a real estate brokerage company in Anchorage specializing in property investment, development, sales and property management.

He also had his fingerprints on the Kenai River Classic, a multi-day fishing event each summer on the Kenai River that treated customers to guided silver salmon fishing tours, a barbecue and a banquet.

Penney’s family said in the statement that his commitment to sportfishing efforts in the state “will be enjoyed by generations of Alaskans to come.’

“Bob was a titan,” the family said. “Everything he did was for the betterment of his family and the state of Alaska. We are lucky that he advocated and pushed us all forward. We will miss him dearly. And as Bob would say, ‘God bless the Kenai!’”

The native of Portland, Oregon, originally relocated to Anchorage in 1951 to manage a lumberyard. Within five years, he was working in sales at Wade Trailer Sales, which became the lynchpin for Penney to open his own trailer business in 1959, specializing in used mobile homes.

Eventually, his family said Penny Trailers Sales became the largest mobile home dealer in the state, leading to opportunities for him to invest in real estate.

His success eventually led to Penney holding valuable properties in most Western U.S. states.

Penney also served on the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce board, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Alaska Regional Hospital Board of Trustees, and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.