Takoma Park coach dies in accident
Jan. 16, 2002
Meredith Hooker
Staff Writer

Penney hit by car while cycling

Walter Herman Penney, 48, a Takoma Park resident who was known best in the community for his work coaching youngsters, died Thursday after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle on Sligo Creek Parkway.

Penney, an experienced cyclist, was struck by a car while riding his bike on Sligo Creek Parkway at about 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. Scott Davis, 23, of the 10900 block of Bucknell Drive in Wheaton, was driving a 1986 Volkswagen south on Sligo Creek Parkway near Dallas Avenue, according to Montgomery County Police.

For unknown reasons, Davis crossed the road's center line, striking Penney, police said. Penney was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring; Davis was taken to Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park with non-life-threatening injuries.

Penney, originally from Greenbelt, volunteered with several city and county league teams. He coached with the Takoma Park City Basketball League, Takoma Park Neighborhood Youth Soccer League and the Takoma Park Babe Ruth Baseball League. Penney also was associated with the Franklin Knolls swim team in Silver Spring and was a coordinator for the Montgomery County Swim League.

"He did love to win as any good coach does, but he got involved because of his love of children," said Howard Kohn, a Takoma Park resident whose children were coached by Penney. "He was loved. They loved him."

"He was involved in so many recreation department activities," said Councilwoman Joy Austin-Lane (Ward 1) who, along with other council members and residents, expressed her sorrow at Monday night's council meeting.

Penney was an accomplished athlete. He was a United States Masters swimmer and regularly participated in triathlons, as well as the Marine Corps Marathon.

"He was an incredible athlete," said Buddy Daniels, a Takoma Park resident who also swam with United States Masters. "Just incredible."

"[Penney] was one of those rare people," Kohn said. "He was a genuine guy."

Penney designed and built his home in Takoma Park, in which he resided with his wife and children since 1980.

Kohn said Penney and his wife "devoted most of their lives to Takoma Park."

Penney worked in technology for 25 years and left the Bureau of National Affairs in November as director of information technology.

"He was a wonderful stay-at-home dad," said his wife, Cheryl Brand. "He really was an amazing person."

He is survived by his wife, Brand; his daughter, Vanessa Penney; and son, Walter Penney.

A memorial service in Penney's honor will be held 6 p.m. Thursday in the Council Chambers in the Takoma Park Municipal Building, 7500 Maple Ave.

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call the police collision reconstruction section at 301-840-2435.