Larry Joe Pennell

Nov. 26, 1942 – Nov. 23, 2019

Larry Joe Pennell was born on Nov. 26, 1942, in Post, Texas, to Robert Franklin and Macon Robbie Pennell. He spent his younger years in Sand Springs, Okla. He died at Powell Valley Care Center on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.

Larry entered the U.S. Navy Nov. 30, 1959, and was honorably discharged on Nov. 29, 1965, after serving four years of active duty and two years in the Naval Reserves. Two of those years were served at Point Mugu Naval Station in California and two years at Sangley Point, Philippines.


When he got out of the Navy, Larry contacted his father looking for work. His father worked for the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park at the time. On his father’s recommendation, Larry found employment in Yellowstone, where he worked for 2½ years driving truck and performing other labor jobs.

During that time, he also worked part-time as a gas station attendant at the Texaco station in Gardner, Mont. One night after work in Gardner he went to a local bar to have a beer and met a traveler who would later change his life dramatically. The man was looking for fuel for his vehicle, but all of the filling stations were closed. Larry helped him out by opening the station after hours so the man could continue his travels to Cheyenne. A few weeks later, Larry accommodated him again by opening the station after hours. This time the man asked Larry if he would like to work for the telephone company. Larry didn’t know a thing about telephones at the time, but was receptive because the man said the position would offer training.

Larry and his wife Sue travelled to Lovell so he could interview for the job. They were very impressed with the town, and Larry felt it was a good career opportunity. Though he and Sue didn’t remain married, Larry spent most of his adult life living and working in Lovell, where he became known as “the telephone guy.”

Over the years, Larry was married three times to Gerrie, Sue and Sue Ellen. He fathered four children in his first two marriages and raised four stepchildren. 

Larry continued to work for the phone company for about 15 years and worked for the Town of Lovell for several years. He also started a few businesses, but found the most success in a business he started installing telephone and satellite systems. He retired in the late 1990s.

Larry loved to hunt and fish. He was especially fond of trap shooting and served as president of the Lovell Rod and Gun Club off and on for about 20 years. During that time, he was involved in the many improvements made to the local shooting range and was later awarded a lifetime membership in the club for his service.

Larry also liked to play games and participated in pinochle games, rotating game locations with other players in Lovell. He became involved in the local cribbage league after a close friend, Chuck Strucker, talked him into joining and later into managing the league. He ran the league for many years until illness forced him to step down from the role. He was also an avid pool player and made many friends playing pool at the 4-Corners Bar and Grill in Lovell, where the “Larry burger” is named after him.

Larry leaves behind a sister Marie (Lamar) Rials; brother Mark (Barbara) Pennell; four grown children, Karen Gail Muse, Christopher Jay (Roni) Pennell, Annette Elaine Austin and Marla Pauline Hall; nieces and nephews Robbie Rardin, Sarah Moore, Loren (Melissa) Rials and Shannon (Cande) Rials; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He remained very close to his stepchildren Marie, Sara and Raymond Calvert through to the end of his life.

A memorial service was held at Haskell Funeral Home in Lovell on Tuesday, Nov. 26, with the Rev. Kurt McNabb officiating. He was buried at the Lovell Cemetery.

To send one of our special floral arrangements, please call Valley Flowers, 307-548-7101