Penny Lu Blakely

Penny Lu (Crone) Blakely, 76, of Indianola, died on February 19, 2024, at Westview of Indianola Care Center.

Consistent with her long standing wishes her body will be donated to Des Moines University for anatomical and surgical study. The family will hold a celebration of life service this summer. Burial will occur at the Bingham Township Cemetery in Woden, Iowa at a later date. 

Penny was born September 9, 1947, in Forest City, Iowa to Dean and Jean (Lonning) Crone. She attended school in Forest City and moved to Crystal Lake for her senior year where she graduated from high school. She then completed nurses training at Broadlawns Nursing School in Des Moines. Penny was a nurse at Simpson College and then for many years at the Mercy Clinic in Indianola. Neither of her sons ever sat in a waiting room at the doctor’s office, always walking in the back door straight into an exam room. Prescriptions were then filled by stopping by a closet in the clinic to grab free samples. Penny administered her sons’ monthly allergy shots with them standing on a chair in the kitchen.

In the early 90’s as a single mother needing to support her family she went to work as a case manager for a health insurance company. She took great pride in helping individuals with complex and serious health concerns, including many transplant recipients, get access to quality health care.

Penny was an active volunteer with Simpson Guild raising money for the college. She dressed up as an elf for many years for their Christmas event. She was also active in the local Master Gardener program sharing her love of flowers and gardening. All of her homes were covered with extensive flower beds and landscaping. She was a long time member of the United Methodist Church in Indianola. She also had many wonderful friends who she enjoyed spending time with throughout her life. In retirement she enjoyed spending lots of time with her grandchildren, driving her red corvette, and a good beer or glass of scotch.  

Penny Blakely was a particularly amazing mother and grandmother. She loved her children, and daughters-in-law, dearly. When her sons were growing up and they were fighting, got into trouble, or had a problem her approach to parenting was to imagine herself at their age, wonder what she as a child of that age would have needed from a parent, and then act accordingly. It was simply amazing parenting. She loved her sons and then daughters-in-law and stepsons dearly and was immensely proud of them all. Not surprisingly, she was an amazing grandmother and enjoyed spoiling her grandchildren. She played board games, pretend, or dress up for hours at a time. She enjoyed baking, puzzles, and holiday decorating with them as well. In the winter she rode sleds with her grandkids being pulled behind a gator.   

Penny married Doug Blakely, her partner since 1992, on Feb. 14, 2007. The wedding was attended by her sons, stepsons, daughters-in-law and four grandchildren at the time.  

Penny is preceded in death by her parents, brother Jim Crone, and brother-in-law Bill Combs. 

Penny is survived by her husband Doug, sons Wade (Lesley) Leuwerke and  Darren (Sarah) Leuwerke, stepsons Ryan (Heidi) Blakely and Jonathan (Hiro) Blakely, sister Sue (Tommy) Fehlhafer, sisters-in-law Becky Crone, Sue (Roy) Moses, Laurie Combs, Carol (Randy) Kozlowski, brothers-in-law Mark Blakely, and Brian (Sarah) Blakely, and grandchildren Laurel, Norah, Carter, Liam, Moira, Ainsley, Scarlet, and Finnegan Leuwerke as well as Caroline and Dalton Blakely. She is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and relatives as well as her beloved dog Bailey.

Memorials may be given to the Alzheimer’s Association

The family of Penny Blakely wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Westview of Indianola Care Center and Suncrest Hospice for their wonderful care.



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