In Memoriam : Penry Cockrum

Penry Cockrum Penry Ann Cockrum - age: 73
(October 18, 1943 to August 19, 2017 )
Resident of Sesser, Illinois

Visitation Information:
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, August 26, 2017
Leffler (formerly Poulson) Funeral Home
401 East Main Street
Benton, IL 62812

Penry Ann Cockrum, 73, of Sesser, formerly of Benton, gently and quietly left this earth on Saturday August 19, 2017 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis.

Penry was born on October 18, 1943 to Maurice H. “Smokey” and Patricia Ann Chapman Poulson in Herrin, IL. She was their only child.

Penry graduated from Benton Consolidated High School in the Class of 1961. These were some of her favorite people and she never missed a class reunion as well as staying in touch with her classmates. Penry attended Gradwohl School of Technology in 1962 in St. Louis, Mo. She became a Laboratory Technician and worked in the blood banks of Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon and Benton Hospital in Benton. In 1987, she graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a degree in Mortuary Science. She owned and operated along with her husband, Terry, Poulson Funeral Home, Benton, IL from 1987 to 2010. She was a member of the First Christian Church, the Illinois Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association, Egyptian Funeral Director’s Association, and the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Benton.

Penry married her best friend and life partner Terry K Cockrum, of Sesser on October 10, 1987. Penry and Terry enjoyed going out to eat, antiquing, being outdoors in their beloved Southern Illinois, and spending time with family and friends. Penry and Terry were excited to celebrate 30 years of marriage this October.

Penry loved and cherished her six children: Steffaney (Tom Welty) Seagle, Grand Detour, IL, Jennifer (Christopher Lee) Pyle, St. Charles, MO, Jeffrey (Andrea) Seagle, Marion, IL, Chris (Lee) Cockrum, Baltimore, MD, Craig (Chrissy Boyd) Cockrum, Sesser, Il and Vickie Cockrum, St. Charles, MO.

All who knew Penry remember her by her great laugh, joy for life, matter-of-factness, and kindness given to thousands of friends and families in her professional and personal life. There were always two or three extra spots at the table during the holidays for those she knew had nowhere else to go. She always said she loved being a funeral director because it was the last nice thing you could do for someone. She was giving and generous beyond measure from crocheted afghans to homemade photo albums, to beautifully crafted beaded bracelets. She loved creating things but more importantly, she loved giving them away.

Penry also loved her grandchildren, all who referred to her as their Ooma. They are: Andrew Dunbar, West Frankfort, IL, Derek Pyle, Miami, FL, Samantha Cockrum, Harrisburg, IL, Jordan Pyle, Philadelphia, PA, Haley Cockrum, Germany, Lance Cockrum, San Diego, CA, and Madison Bean, Marion, IL.

Penry was preceded in death by her parents and her first husband, Charles “Chuck” Seagle.

There will be a Celebration of Life Open House on Saturday, August 26, 2017 at Leffler (formerly Poulson’s) Funeral Home, 401 East Main St., Benton, IL, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Leffler Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. There will be a reception at the VFW in Sesser, IL from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., all are encouraged to attend this informal gathering to remember and celebrate Penry, Terry and their family.

Interment will be at a later date, in Horse Prairie Cemetery, Sesser, IL.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the 2nd Chance Rescue of Franklin County, or to Horse Prairie Cemetery, and will be accepted at Leffler Funeral Home, 401 East Main St, Benton, IL 62812.

To leave online condolences to the family, or to share memories of Penry, visit

Constance Bigham - August 20, 2017Contact this person Contact this person
She was a blessing to all who knew her. I'll see you on the other side, my friend...Connie

Mary Ann Eskew - August 20, 2017Contact this person Contact this person
Where to begin. I have known Penry since kindergarten. What a time we have had through the years. I was blessed to have kept in close contact through the last 69 years. I miss her smile, humor, innocence, and wisdom. Penry had the knack of seeing what Myrna and I would sometimes miss. I am thankful I talked to her the day before her surgery and was able to tell her I love her bunches. My heart and love goes to Terry and her family. See you later, Penry.... Mary Ann

Dina Lillyman - August 21, 2017Contact this person Contact this person
Our deepest condolences to you and your family Stefanie. If there is anything we can please reach out. Love Dina & James

Becki Cockrum Daher - August 21, 2017Contact this person Contact this person
Condolences to the family. Penry was a loving caring person, fun to be with, and generous hostess. We so enjoyed our last visit because she made it feel like home. Rest peacefully... Love, Becki

Helen Kent - August 24, 2017Contact this person Contact this person
May Penry rest in peace. May GOD be with her family and give them comfort.... Bob & Helen Kent

Wiley Hall - July 11, 2018Contact this person Contact this person
Penny you tracked me around the world somehow for a number of years post HS. It was always a joy to hear from you. It gave me warm fuzzies and reinforced my commitment to friendships. Rest peacefully.

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Penry Cockrum photo