Southwestern Family of Companies celebrates the life of Richard “Rich” Penuel, who passed away October 17, 2020. He was 88 years old.
Rich sold Southwestern Bibles and books from 1952 through 1955, earning his way through college and graduate school. He knew that his father had been a bookman, and under the guidance of Dortch Oldham, Rich learned the principles of character and success that are the foundations of our Family of Companies.
After serving in the U.S. Army, Rich was hired as Bookkeeper for the company in the fall of 1958, when Spencer Hays was finishing his third summer. His financial acumen, legendary memory for both the numerical and personal details of each dealer who sold, and his straightforward kindness and honesty earned him the position of Chief Financial Officer. One year, while reviewing old records, he discovered his family name in a roster of dealers from the era around World War I—and verified that his grandfather had also sold books.
He became a shareholder and member of the Board of Directors, roles he held until he, Dortch Oldham, Fred Landers, Spencer Hays, and Ted Welch sold the company to Times-Mirror. He retired in 1972. His financial stewardship ensured the company’s security, and his caring advice and mentorship over the years helped launch thousands of careers.
Rich continued counseling and mentoring people throughout his life while maintaining his love of basketball, which he played joyfully until just a few years ago. He attended many annual events in our Family of Companies. His smile, enthusiastic handshake, and brilliant eyes lit up all of our lives. Thank you, Rich!
(Richard Penuel pictured on far right)