News

Shooting victim Stacey Pennington remembered for kind heart

Written by Danielle Francisco/Lebanon Daily News | Sep 9, 2015 8:00 AM
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Drew Allwein and father, Chuck, reflect on the life and shocking death of Stacey Pennington at her Mt. Gretna store location. Drew Allwein owns The Jigger Shop, where Chuck also works. Chuck and another employee of the shop witnessed Monday's shooting. (Michael K. Dakota -- Lebanon Daily News)

(Mount Gretna) -- Candles, flowers and a simple note reading "I am so sorry this happen" lay in front of the Gretna Emporium gift shop Tuesday, where owner Stacey Pennington was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend Patrick Derr.

Derr then  turned the gun on himself Monday afternoon.

Pennington, formerly Seldomridge, graduated from Elco in 1987 and from Lebanon Valley College in 1992.

An active member of the Mt. Gretna community, Pennington, described by friends as positive and a kind soul, was hoping to move into the area from her home in South Lebanon Township, where she lived with her two school-aged sons.

She also owned the Resource Island and Emporium Too located along Penn Avenue in the Cleona Square shopping center. Resource Island served as a regular stop for locals in search of school supplies and educational gifts and toys, while Emporium Too was an extension of the shop in Gretna offering similar merchandise.

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In a 2011 interview with the Daily News, Pennington commented that the, "Emporium Too will add a new dimension to the existing store and provide fun items for the whole family."

A post on the business' Facebook page reads, "Due to a family emergency, we are closed today. We will let everyone know when we are back open. Thank you and sorry for any inconvenience."

Comments below express condolences to the family and staff. The Resource Island storefront currently serves as a memorial to the business owner who "purely enjoyed what she did".

"She was a good person that really did some neat things," said Jigger Shop owner Drew Allwein, "Sure, she was in business, but her contribution to the community is that she provided a way for people to learn and express themselves. She loved that stuff, and it all came down to who she was as a person. Everything was done out of the goodness of her heart."

Chuck Allwein, Drew's father, who also works at the Jigger Shop, often saw Pennington, a mother of two, in the morning while both prepped their respective businesses for opening. Chuck said they would often make small talk in the morning.

Both Chuck and Drew Allwein and other Jigger Shop employees were present the morning of the shooting. Chuck and one employee witnessed the scene from just feet away. Many were shaken by the events, but no one was injured.

The staff, as well as Pennington, were preparing for what would have been their final day of the season.

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The note expressing sympathy for the shooting death of Stacey Pennington rests on the ground in the Fairy Garden outside the Gretna Emporium gift shop, which Pennington owned. (Michael K. Dakota -- Lebanon Daily News)

A statement released by Kathy Snavely, publisher of "This Week in Mt. Gretna," said, "We would covet your thoughts and prayers for the families involved, as well as our community, as we deal with this issue -- particularly the two young sons of our friend, Stacey Pennington, who was a very vibrant partner in summer activities. Her death is a tragic loss for all of us."

Those sentiments were echoed throughout social media. One Lebanon Daily news comment read, "My heart goes out to family, friends, the community, all who were involved. Her legacy will live on thru her sons ... she is Resting In Peace ... I have included this photo of the beloved Fairy Garden located very close to where her life was taken ... we're all aware of the harshness in this world ... now this Idyllic community and countless lives are directly affected ... heartbreaking. Peace and Love to all..."

Pennington had kept a Fairy Garden around the gift shop in keeping with the whimsical theme present throughout the store.

"She brought a real light to visitors in the area," said Drew Allwein, also commenting that in his time in Gretna he felt the gift shop was at its best while being run by Pennington.

Pennington also organized a Kid's Art Show in conjunction with the Mt. Gretna Outdoor Art Show. The art show would take place in the Chautauqua Playground. The art show website stated that during the show children would have the opportunity to sell their art; there would be make-and-take art activities; and that students would provide the musical entertainment for the event.

"She is irreplaceable for Mt. Gretna," was echoed by many as they paid their condolences at the gift shop.

The Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce posted on its Facebook page, "We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Stacey Pennington's family. Stacey was a Chamber member through Resource Island and winner of the 2005 Leon Hoover Entrepreneurial Spirit of the Year Award. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family."

According to its Facebook page, the Pennsylvania Chautauqua is organizing a community-wide service to honor Stacey. No further information is available at this time.

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Comments: 1

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