To make a contribution to LaShawn's family during this difficult time, please visit:
LaShawn L. Penney, affectionately known to all as “Shawn,” was born in Portland, Oregon to the late Norman Joseph Penney and the late Erma Jean Penney on October 10, 1973.
Shawn began his early childhood education at Martin Luther “King” Elementary School. He attended Harriett Tubman Middle School and was a 1992 graduate of Jefferson High School where he ranked number nine (#9) in a class of three hundred (300) students. Shawn received an Associates of Arts degree from Treasure Valley Community College and studied pre-law at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Shawn was an active and productive child who was involved in tumbling and band. He attended the Boys and Girls Club and would later mentor kids from that same environment. It was in his early years that his organizational skills began to bloom. This born leader could do it all, even when it came to organizing a drill team for the kids in the family. Shawn knew how to take the helm and make it happen, even if it meant getting into it with Starla over who was going to do the T-shirts. He could and wanted to do it all. Later in life Shawn would become exceptionally skilled at planning weddings, parties, family reunions, funerals as well as events with family and community in Portland, Oregon.
Shawn was an avid sports fan and loved playing on the Mush ball team with his brother Terrell and friends, competing at the highest level in both city and state tournaments. A lover of all sports, Shawn practically grew up with a basketball in his hands. He played for Albina Sports Program and made the Jefferson High School Varsity Basketball Team his junior year. It was no surprise when he received a full ride academic scholarship and for basketball. Just as we knew Shawn to be in his adult life, he was a team player, and everyone liked him. Of course, Shawn considered himself the star of the team. He was very assertive and thought he was the best basketball player in the world. Simply confident, and in all humor, it couldn’t be done without him. Some would consider his heart murmur to have cut his basketball career short. Yet we’d all come to realize that this life transition would be the catalyst to Shawn becoming a leader within the community.
Fresh out of college, Shawn would experience a love like never before. The love of a father for his first born, a daughter; Sharaya Penney. His desire for his baby girl was for her to grow up and be successful in life. With much support and encouragement from her father, “Shay Shay” did just that, and went on to graduate from Texas Southern.
Shawn was dedicated to working hard and providing for his family. He gained employment with the Oregonian Newspaper as a Customer Service Representative, and later with Waste Management, where he retired early. Shawn was employed with Self Enhancement Inc. for many years, and simultaneously became the President of Good In The Hood Multicultural Festival, serving for ten (10) years. Prior to the pandemic Shawn also worked for Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon and was most recently employed with FedEx.
Though work was a given, it never consumed or overshadowed Shawn’s passions and dedication to family and his community. Shawn was a loving, caring family man and father. He loved hanging out with his family, even if it was just to relax, watch sports or celebrate a birthday. Birthdays were particularly special to Shawn. He always enjoyed being in the company of the Beasley family, Mr. Jessy and Ms. Dorothy. There was a lot of laughter and fun while with Ms. Madea. One of his passions was cooking, especially for the holidays. Some of Shawn’s specialty dishes were macaroni & cheese, fried chicken, fish, and gumbo. He loved sweet potato pie and, oh yes, he liked salad too. Shawn was talented when it came to catering. The way he prepped, organized, and served truly set the atmosphere for any event. Shawn loved traveling. He’d often go to the coast, rent an Airbnb or a house to entertain, cook and have a great time with family and friends. This was one of the best times for Shawn to break out his card and domino game, talk smack, and AGAIN, he thought he was the best player.
Shawn was dedicated to community, stayed connected and worked hand in hand with community leaders, Mayors, City Officials and the Fire and Police Departments to bring community together. His community leadership will be greatly missed.
He loved helping and grooming kids and vowed to stick by them for life. One of his goals in life was to always be in position to assist at risk kids and all people no matter the color, race, or ethnic background. Furthering his education was a desire, with the long-term goal of becoming a political official in the City of Portland or a United States Congressman so he could resolve the senseless hardships and struggles that many minorities faced daily.
As the leader of the Good In The Hood Multicultural Festival, Shawn’s expertise, profound guidance and organizational skills attracted sponsors, entertainers, the Portland Trailblazers, media, Market Place and several food vendors to the event. It became the largest Multicultural Festival on the west coast and attracted national attention. He was determined to make sure each year was greater than the last. Shawn was a warrior, and for the sake of GITH and his community, during a time of adversity and pressure, he remained a poised leader. He took a “Courageous Stand,” and “in spite of a terrible situation, his love for people and desire for unity overcame the threats,…” threats that could have shut down GITH. Shawn was “an outstanding role model, an activist and a black leader in the community.” He was determined to “always fight for bringing communities and family together.”
Shawn fought a good fight and is now resting well with those that have gone before him: his parents: Norman Joseph (“Joe”) and Erma Jean Penny; brothers: Norman Joseph Penney, Jr. (“Peek-A-Boo”) and Anthony Todd Penney; nephew: Tyrell Penney. As we reflect on Shawn and his infectious smile, we hold close to our hearts, and will continue to live out, his legacy of love and passion for bringing family and community together. Memories of Shawn will remain in the hearts of his: wife: Mahina Penney; children: Sharaya (Eraina Beasley) Penney, Sydney Penney, LaShawn Penney, Jr., Asia Griffin; brothers: Scottie Collier, Reggie Penney, Avery Penney, Dwayne Penney, Gregory Penney, Darrylyn Penney, Terrell Penney; sisters: Christina Baldwin, Nicole Penney, Stacie Olea, Tyanne Knickrehm, and Stephanie Jackson; grandson: Enzo Lacey; and a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives and friends.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of LaShawn L. Penney, please visit our floral store.