Penland Historical Society, Inc.
      April  -  June   2015
       *         *        *         *       *    
 Penland, NC (as listed in Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia)
  Penland is an unincorporated community in Mitchell County, North Carolina.
  Penland is 2.9 miles (4.7km) west-northwest of Spruce Pine.   Approximately 
  200 year round residents live in the community, the center of which is the
  Penland Road bridge crossing the North Toe River and CSX railroad line.  The
  community is located on the northern edge of western North Carolina's Black
  Mountains and is bisected by the North Toe River, a tributary of the Cane and
  Nolichucky rivers.   The Penland Post Office and General Store with Zip Code 
  28765, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its
  significance as the longest continously operating post office in the area.  Also
  listed in the National Register of Historic Places are the Penland School 
  Historic District and the Henry Willis House.  

  The community is named for Robert Penland, a wealthy local businessman 
  who, in the 1850s operated an Inn for travelers.   Penland School of Crafts,
  established in the early 1920s, is the largest and oldest professional crafts
  school in the United States.   The school offers courses in all of the major
  craft media and many fine arts fields, bringing thousands of students and
  prominent instructors together every year.   Nine of North Carolina's 
  seventeen Living Treasures live within a five mile radius of Penland.

  (NOTE)  Miss Lucy Morgan became the Director of the Penland School of
  Crafts in 1920 and largely through her effiorts, made it famous throughout the
  world for its innovative efforts to reclaim and perpetuate craft work expertise!
  The reputation of the school has, over the years, resulted in many hundreds
  of visitors & students from many foreign countries making their way to it!  An
  example of its importance is the fact that, at one point, the School was 
  selected by the National Park Service to weave 113 yards of homespun green
  baize to recover the table where the Declaration of Independence was signed
  in Philadelphia.   It took much experimenting with dyes, a specially 
  constructed loom and more than two years of painstaking work to effect a
  precise reproduction of the 1776 green baize, but Penland did the job!
     *      *      *       *       *       
   Norman  Abbott  Penland    (1924 - 2015)  
   Greenville, SC.......... Norman Abbott Penland, 90, of Greenville, SC passed
    away Friday, 3 April 2015 at Heartland Health Care Center in Greenville, SC.
    Mr. Penland was born September 27, 1924 in Clay County, NC to the late
    James Arthur and Estella Herbert Penland.   In addition to his parents, he is
    preceded in death by a sister, Beulah Penland Moore and brothers, Edward,
    Robert, Frank, Gerorge, and June Penland.   Norman was a graduate of
    Hayesville High School, Hayesville, NC in 1942.   He joined the United States
    Army shortly after graduation and served during WW II.   He enjoyed farming
    and small engine repair, and served as the chairman of several commitees at
    Berea Friendship United Methodist Church where he was a member.  
    Survivors include his loving wife of 71 years, Mary Louise Smart Penland of
    the home;  two sons, Kenneth and his wife, Janice, of Matthews, NC, and
    David and his wife, Debbie, of Greenville, SC;  grandchildren, Randy Penland
    and his wife, Amanda, and Jana Barnhill and her husband, Jason;  great-
    grandchildren, Audrey and Caleb Barnhill, brother-in-law, Jack Smart of
    Hayesville, NC, sisters-in-law Helen Bryant of Greenville, SC, Emma Jean
    Barrett, Doris Moore, Evelyn Smart, Norma Jean Smart, all of Hayesville, NC,
    and Ruth Ford Penland of Swannanoa, NC; and many nieces and nephews.
     *      *      *       *      

       Dr. Brittany (Penland) Lasseigne
                            {Cancer Research}

Huntsville, Diana LaChance           The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology have long enjoyed a strong and mutually beneficial partnership.   UAH professors serve as adjunct faculty at the Institute, undergraduate and graduate students take part in its research projects and internship programs, and alumni enjoy employment in the Institute Labs or with the associate companies that call the 152-acre biotech campus home.

Among the latter is Dr. Brittany (Penland) Lasseigne (pronounced "La-Sane"), who recently received her Ph.D. in Biotechnology and Science Engineering and is now working as a post-doctoral fellow in the Myers Laboratory.   "I think the combination of UAH and HudsonAlpha let me take advantage of opportunities at both," she says.   "I was prepared for my post-doc position and I knew that was what I wanted to do next."    

Dr. Lasseigne and her husband, Joshua, originally moved to Huntsville in 2008;  he landed a position in the defense industry and she was considering either graduate school or medical school.   "I was trying to decide the right fit so I enrolled in UAH's master of science in biology program," says Dr. Lasseigne, who earned a bachelor's degree in biological engineering from Mississippi State University.   "But after a semester, it was clear I wanted to get a Ph.D.!"    In a serendipitous turn of events, it was around the same time that she attended a seminar given by Dr. Richard Meyers at the then newly constructed HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.   Myers, who currently serves as the Institute's president and a faculty investigator, focuses on genomic and genetic analysis of human traits and diseases.   The pair were introduced by Dr. Joe Ng, associate professor in UAH's Department of Biological Sciences and founder of HudsonAlpha associate company iXpressGenes;  soon after, Dr. Meyers invited Dr. Lasseigne to work in his lab.    "Rick had a collaboration with Dr. Jim Brooks at Stanford University to look at genomics in kidney cancer, so I started working on it and that's what I did for the entirety of my graduate work," she says.

Dr. Lasseigne's responsibilities included conducting experiments to measure the genomic changes between kidney normal and tumor tissues and then analyzing the extremely large data sets those experiments yielded.   "I learned how to program in a couple of different computer languages and analyze the data in a way that was biologically and statistically meaningful," she says.   That work ultimately formed the foundation of Dr. Lasseigne's Ph.D. dissertation, "Analysis of DNA methlation and copy number variation in renal cell carcinoma," and contributed to a co-authored paper that was published in BMC Medicine earlier this year entitled "DNA methylation profiling reveals novel diagnostic biomarkers in renal cell carcinoma."  It also enabled her to secure a spot as a post-doctoral fellow in the Myers Laboratory after she'd earned her Ph.D. in December of 2013. "A post-doc is like a residency for a medical doctor," she says.   "You often need to learn more skill sets before you can be on your own, so it's a way to get more experience after graduate school.   You have more responsibility than a graduate student but you're not running your own lab."         

As before, Dr. Lasseigne is researching genomic differences between normal and tumor tissue.    But now her focus is on finding a way to use those differences to make early cancer diagnoses and monitor recurrence.   "The markers we found were specifically in tissue, but we think it would be possible to detect them in urine and blood," she says.   She's also expanding her scope to include psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases - which means her 40 hours a week in the lab sometimes stretches into 60.   "It's like grad school on steroids!" she laughs about the workload.   Fortunately, there's a lot of motivation.   "At HudsonAlpha we always say 'patients are waiting,' so when we find something that has utility, we want to keep going."

Where it will take her next, however, has yet to be determined.   By their nature, post-docs are temporary positions and Dr. Lasseigne anticipates she will only need 3 to 4 more years to acquire the skills she will need for her next job.   "I would like to stay in academic science and continue studying the genomics of human disease," she says.   I think a faculty position would be a good fit for me." That could mean moving to another "big genomics city" like Seattle, Boston, or St. Louis.    But it could also mean staying right here in Huntsville, where UAH and HudsonAlpha already offer the combination she's looking for.   "I like it here - when you bring a bunch of people together who want to do good science and have the right skills, you can make a difference," says Dr. Lasseigne.  "So I'm open to whatever comes next!"      
{NOTE:  Brittany graduated from  high school as a "National Merit Scholar" and is the daughter of Patrick & Tawnya Penland of San Antonio, Texas}
                  *      *      *      *      *
Billy Gerald Penland    (1960  -  2015)
Black Mountain, NC.................Billy Gerald Penland, 55, of Black Mountain, passed away April 23, 2015 at Mission Hospital in Asheville.   Billy was born in Buncombe County on April 5, 1960 to the late Bill and Virginia (Smathers) 
Penland.   Billy was a member of the McCune Lions Club and enjoyed wrestling, NASCAR, dancing, country music and spending time with his family.   He had a positive outlook on life, was always ready for a new experience and always had a good time wherever he went.   He was a strong Christian and loved the Lord.   His witness was his smile and he was always ready for a hug.   He is survived by his siblings, Dianne Smith (Dave), Sheryl Hare (Evan), Danny Frye (Debbie) and Joseph Penland (Christie) and several loving aunts, uncles, nieces & nephews.
       *      *      *      *      *
Patrick Penland receives Performance Awards!
Recently, Patrick A. Penland, who works for the Air Force Air Education & Training Command (AETC) at Randolph AFB, in San Antonio, Texas was recognized for his superior sustained job performance during 2014.   He was presented the prestigious "Headquarters AETC Civilian Employee of the Year Award," (Category 3)!   In addition, he was presented the 'Charlotte & Carlton Loos Civilian Award', an annual award presented by  the local chapter of the
Air Force Association to the outstanding civilian employee of the year!

In his current position, Patrick is employed by the USAF Profession of Arms Center of Excellence PACE), and is deeply involved in developing "lessons learned" recommendations for senior leaders involving a wide variety of projects, including such items as electronic systems 'hacking', beddown of
new fighter aircraft, developing new professionalism training guidelines for leadership, sexual assault prevention and awareness, and overseeing a $781,000 contractor study on behalf of the Air Force.      

He has developed professionalism training couse material, which has been  presented to 5,000 personnel across the Air Force in response to a direct tasking from the Air Force Chief of Staff.   He developed a new 'unethical conduct' reporting tool for Unit Commanders and lead a baseline study for improving Professional Military Education courses for all officers, enlisted, 
and civilian personnel in the Air Force.

In his spare time, Patrick has coached his son's soccer team for the past nine seasons! { Patrick is a retired military officer & former Command Pilot in the 
U. S. Air Force.   He is a sixth generation descendant of William & Margaret Penland of Cocke County, Tennessee --  the same William Penland that first married Mary Casey in 1811 in Roane County, Tennessee}
           *      *      *      *      *
         Arnold Penland, Jr.    (1933 - 2015)

Gainesville, Florida.............Dr. Arnold Penland, Jr. passed away peacefully into
the glorious life eternal on Saturday, May 23 after many months of illness.   He was born in Asheville, NC on October 8, 1933, the son of Arnold Penland, Sr. and Pearl Bailey Penland.   He earned multiple degrees:  B.S., M.A., M.Ed, and Ph.D. from Western Carolina University, George Peabody College for Teachers, Duke University and Florida State University.   His career began as choral director in Reidsville, NC and ended with the University of Florida as Professor of Music and Assistant Dean Emeritus, College of Fine Arts in 2000.   He was an active member in the choir and as an Elder at the First Presbyterian Church.   He loved singing, gardening, reading, collecting cook books, creating gourmet meals, spending time at the beach and eating oysters by the sdozen.   Arnold is survived by his wife, Joan Eudy Penland;  daughter, Marcia Schingel (David) of Crystal Lake, IL;  daughter, Beth Causey (John) of Charlotte, NC;  and four grandchildren, Luke and Matthew Schingel, and Jamison and Andrew Causey.
Arnold had one sister, Nancy Rose (Tommy);  Nephew, Bruce Abbott, and niece,
Karen Austin, all of Hendersonville, NC.       
      *         *         *         *         *
Judy Penland Pritchard   (1946  -  2015)
Marion, NC......  Judy Penland Pritchard, age 68, of Marion went home to be with the Lord following several years of dealing with MS, on Sunday, June 7, 2015.   Judy was born in Burke County on June 25, 1946 and was a loving daughter of the late Bill and Bessie Jones Penland.   She was a member of Rocky Pass FWB Church where she served as a choir member, soloist and Sunday School Teacher.   She will be remembered by her family as a loving and dedicated wife, mother and grandmother.   She always had a wonderful smile and a great attitude in spite of her sickness.   Preceding Judy in death was a daughter, Gina Pritchard, whom she is now with.   Left to cherish Judy's memory is her husband of 49 years, Jerry B. Pritchard, of the home, a daughter, Melody Pritchard Burnette and husband, Henry Burnette, Jr. of Marion, a brother, Steven Penland of Morganton, and one grandchild, Aurora Burnette.
     *        *         *         *         *