Janet “Penny” Jones was born in Syracuse New York, where, together with her twin sisters Kathryn and Caroline, she was raised by her parents Janet and Bradford. She attended Nottingham High School, followed by Syracuse University. In May 1960, a few weeks before graduating, she proposed to William “Bill” Allyn of Skaneateles. Three weeks later, the young couple was married and moved to Portland, Oregon, where Bill served in the Coast Guard while Penny taught Physical Education. Their first child Scott was born a few years later, and in 1963 the family of 3 returned to Skaneateles. Without doubt, Penny’s greatest joy was raising her four sons, Scott, Eric, David and Mark, in the small town of Skaneateles. As a mother, she was loving but tough, supportive but stern, sweet but always honest. Her household at 50 State Street was the Grand Central Station of Skaneateles in the 1970s through 2000, with constant traffic from her girl scout troops, neighborhood kids, the boys’ hockey teams and rock bands, Welch Allyn visitors, her tennis team, church friends, bridge players, and, of course, her German Shepherds. It was Penny’s nurturing that built the skills, qualities, temperament, and love in her four boys. In more recent years, Penny worked to leave a similar fingerprint on her grandchildren, in each of whom she was beyond proud.
Outside of running her family, Penny was extremely involved in local organizations in Central New York. She served on the Boards of The CNY Community Foundation, The American Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, the Allyn Family Foundation, and countless other organizations. In the mid 1970s, Penny served on the Skaneateles Town Council, and on the Session at the Skaneateles Presbyterian Church (where she also taught Sunday School for decades). She loved her 20+ years as the Skaneateles High School girls’ tennis coach, leaving her imprint on hundreds of local girls.
Although her list of volunteer activities is extensive, it was the compassion and intensity that Penny brought to non-profits which were most impressive. This complete selfless dedication to others is probably best epitomized by her blood donation. For many years – and perhaps even to this day – Penny Allyn was largest donor of “apheresis” style blood giving in Syracuse. Over the course of decades, Penny drove to Syracuse weekly for this 2-hour procedure, where a machine extracted her blood, removed certain blood components, and returned the remaining blood, making apheresis donation particularly impactful. She always had time for those around her – even people that she didn’t know.
Beginning in 2000, Penny and Bill became residents of Naples Florida, and they brought the same commitment to her local community. She continued playing tennis, and in her later years, she started coaching again, this time coaching a USTA team of the ladies of the Royal Poinciana Club. Penny was quite active in Naples Community Church, and has been a strong supporter, volunteer, and Board Member of Habitat for Humanity of Collier County. In 2017, Penny was recognized as a “Woman of Initiative” at a ceremony in Naples.
Both in Central New York, and in Naples Florida, Penny and Bill received countless recognitions for their commitment to their local communities.
Penny was many things. Wife, mother, grandmother, friend to countless people, dog-lover. And always, a hero. A role model. A constant cheerleader. A lover of orchids. A warrior.
Last year, on the day after Thanksgiving 2018, Penny suffered a fall resulting in a severe head injury. After 5 weeks in the hospital in a coma-like state, Penny bounced back like a warrior, and had a great 2019. Indeed, only 4 weeks ago she was seen driving down Gulf Shore Blvd in her Thunderbird convertible, with her dog Belle in the passenger seat. Unfortunately, her original fall in 2018 left some damage in Penny’s brain, and in early November 2019 she had some debilitating seizures. After battling against the neurological damage throughout November, Penny died peacefully at home, surrounded by her husband, kids, grandkids, and dog.
Donations in Penny’s honor may be directed to Habitat for Humanity of Collier County (11145 Tamiami Trail E, Naples FL 34113), or Salt City Market (c/o The Allyn Family Foundation, 11 Fennel St, Skaneateles NY 13152).