Hilly Spits Penton went peacefully to God, surrounded by her loving family on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Born on September 12, 1945 to Jan and Jeane (Haccou) Spits in Jakarta, Indonesia, Hilly grew up in Indonesia and Holland before immigrating to the United States in 1960 under the sponsorship of First Baptist Church in Boise. She was a precocious and curious child who explored the jungles of Jakarta and the fields of Holland, rebelling against the bows and dresses her sartorial mother would attempt to put her in. It was this independent and determined spirit that would shape the successful ambitions of her accomplished life.
In 1966, Hilly met the love of her life, Eugene. After three months and several proposals, she finally accepted, and they eloped in a simple ceremony. This was much to the chagrin of her parents, especially her father, whom Eugene worked for and who grew to love Eugene once the shock wore off. Their marriage was a blessing to both Hilly and Eugene and they eventually had three children, Felicia, Andrea and Tonya. With his love and support, she was able to complete her dream of being the first person in her family to graduate from college.
Hilly had a thirst for knowledge and learning, earning several degrees including an A.S. from Boise Junior College in 1965, a diploma in Medical Technology from St. Luke’s Hospital in 1967, a B.A. in Medical Technology from Boise State College in 1970, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Idaho in 1984, which she obtained as the first remote learning student in Idaho. She went on to work for Idaho Power as a Planning Engineer in the Distribution Planning Department, until she retired after 35 years. Hilly was the first female engineer in the state of Idaho. She was also a published member of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), writing a scholarly paper that appeared in its prestigious journal in 2012.
Hilly was also a prolific painter who had a passion for the watercolor medium and was inspired by the beauty of Idaho’s landscapes. She spent many years volunteering at her granddaughter’s school, Washington Elementary, where she taught typing. As part of her volunteerism, she donated computers to Washington Elementary and created a software program that taught children to type. Hilly would eventually expand this typing class into a program that the Boise School District would successfully implement in all 33 of its elementary schools. A self-taught guitarist with a love of jazz music, Hilly would spend hours strumming her guitar and making music until the wee hours of the night. Her inexorable inclination to self-teach would also lead her to casually study the course materials for the Series 7 and 63, among many other learnings. She was a true Renaissance woman.
To those that knew her, it will be her love for her family that will define her legacy. Hilly was the selfless and loving matriarch of her family, whose compassion, generosity of heart, and quiet kindness would never let her stop giving to those she loved most. Her unfaltering faith in the Lord guided her to raise her children and grandchildren in love, impressing upon them the importance of their own relationships with God. She found solace in the Bible and the word of God and would read it often. She also occasionally enjoyed the works of Walt Whitman and Robert Frost.
In her death, Hilly is now reunited with her niece, Amy Spits; her father, Jan Spits; her brother, Walter Spitz, and her mother, Jeane Spits. She will be lovingly remembered by her devoted husband of nearly 56 years, Eugene Penton. Hilly is also survived by her three loving daughters: Felicia Penton (Jay Prickett), Andrea Denise Penton (Ken Long), and Tonya Cronister (Todd Cronister); her eight adoring grandchildren: McKenzie Penton Strong (Russell Strong), Peter Cronister (Lyndsay Cronister), John Prickett, Victoria Cronister, Connor Long, Isabelle Cronister, Cole Long, Chase Long; her six great-grandchildren Kadence Cronister, Samuel Cronister, Noah Strong, Henry Cronister, William McCool, and Sophia Strong; and both of her siblings, Richard Spits (Sylvia Spits) and Erica Dunn (Danial Dunn). Her loving family will miss her tremendously.
The family would like to thank the compassionate caregivers from C.A.R.E. LLC, Home Helpers Home Care and the St. Luke’s Hospice nursing team.
“And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly.”
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