Vitalena was born July 7, 1925, at rural Remsen, the daughter of Leo and Marie (Wohles) Thommes. She was raised in the Remsen and Granville area. She moved with her family to Le Mars in the early 1940s where she graduated from Le Mars Central High School in 1945. She continued to work as a secretary for Mr. Kluckhohn until 1947.
On June 9, 1947, she married Andrew Penning at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Le Mars. The couple made their home near Granville where they lived their entire married life on the Penning family farm.
She was a member of St Joseph's Church in Granville, DCCW, Christian Mothers, and St. Joseph's Ladies Guild.
She loved making beautiful quilts, hand crocheted doilies and beautiful flower gardens.
Survivors include her husband, Andrew of Granville; 10 children: William and Nancy Penning of Granville, Steve Penning, of Ajijic, Mexico, Randy and Laurie Penning, of Minnetonka, Minn., Mary and John Leonard of Le Mars, Paul and Carole Penning of Houston, Texas, Cindy and Dave Kinney of Sioux City, Joe and Theresa Penning of Austin, Texas, Shelly and Don Kohoutek of Sioux Falls, S.D., Greg and Gina Penning of Granville, and Jeanne and Jim Von Arb of Huxley; 17 grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; two sisters, Katherine Dreckman and her husband, Cletus of Le Mars, and Dorothy Tillotson of Rockford, Ill.; and two sisters-in-law, Joan Thommes of Omaha, Neb., and Angeline Goebel of Worthington, Minn.
She was preceded in death by her parents; one son in-law, Jerry Anderson; one brother, Bill Thommes; one sister, Leona and her husband, Magnus Goebel; and one brother-in-law, Don Tillotson.
Funeral service were at 10:30 a.m. today (Monday) at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Granville with the Rev. Richard Ball officiating. Burial was in the St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Granville. Visitation was anytime after 4 p.m. Sunday, with a parish rosary at 5 p.m., and vigil prayer service at 7 p.m., all at the St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Granville.
Services have been entrusted to Fisch Funeral Home & Monument in Remsen.
Casketbearers were William, Steve, Randy, Paul, Joe, and Greg Penning.
Condolences may be sent online at www.fischfh.com.