Mourning the sudden loss of well-loved reporter

The sudden passing this week of former reporter Penny Lett is being felt across the Chilliwack community.

Penny Lett

Penny Lett

The sudden passing this week of former reporter Penny Lett, who wrote for the Chilliwack Progress for more than two decades, is being felt across the community.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Ont., she eventually moved to Chilliwack and began her 22-year stint at The Progress in 1983.

Lett became known for her cheerful personality, uplifting human interest stories, and informative community features.

She gleaned quite a bit from her reporting personally at the same time as she educated readers on scores of everyday topics, with practical and useful information.

Lett would often say with enthusiasm that a reporter’s job was “a licence to learn” new things every day, and she happily interviewed an endless array of personalities, experts and thinkers over the years.

Her well-read and popular ‘Penny for Your Thoughts’ column in the old Weekend Progress was replete with wonderful news items, and photographs submitted by faithful Chilliwack readers.

Cats were one of her favourite things in the world, next to the love of her life, Brian Snook, and they figured prominently in her writing whenever possible.

Who could ever forget the funny tale of “Wombat the alarm cat” who saved the day when a fire broke out suddenly in the home of a Progress reader. Wombat was a fearless kitty who woke up the reader who had taken a sleeping aid before putting a chicken in the oven and hitting the couch for a nap. You bet, you wanted to read that one to find out what happened.

Lett always managed to compile the most interesting and quirky tidbits that didn’t really fit in the other areas of the paper into her Penny For Your Thoughts column, and it was hugely entertaining.

She evolved into a talented folk artist, who excelled at whatever crafty project she attempted, from interior design, cat sculptures, to jewelry making and award-winning, hand-crocheted baby blankets.

Her most recent passion, especially in the wake of the penny coin being retired, was creating individualized ‘Penny Earrings’ which delighted her loved ones who were lucky enough to receive a pair.

Lett passed away on Monday, March 4.

Given her love of animals, donations, rather than flowers, can be sent to care of Eileen Drever at B.C. SPCA, 1245 East Seventh Ave., Vancouver, B.C., V5T 1R1.

A memorial tea is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at Henderson’s Funeral Home, with no funeral service by request.

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