DEER LODGE — Laurel Elaine Penner (Denton) came into this world March 23, 1961, the youngest of five children to Ralph and Ruth Denton. She grew up in Deer Lodge along with her four brothers. She graduated from Powell County High School at the top of her class in 1979. Laurel met Larry Penner early in life and together they started a family and had many life adventures along the way.

Laurel was a very smart, talented lady who loved life. She was always a ray of sunshine, had the biggest heart and was always happy to help anyone, but she was never afraid to stand her ground. She had the best laugh and sense of humor. She could make you laugh when you least expected it. She loved having fun and was always willing to try new things. When life presented challenges she would always say “It’s okay” and press on.

She loved being a part of all the special moments with her family and friends — from being outside in the country with her horse (Spice), in the mountains with her family having picnics, picking huckleberries, roasting marshmallows, to shopping trips, going to drive-in movies or hanging out at an after work get-together, but most of all were the cherished moments with her grandchildren. She loved being there for her grandkids. It didn’t matter what she was doing, she always made sure to be there for them, cheering them on in the stands, being a member of the PIT crew, having movie nights, traveling to Texas, and doing art projects. As the best grandmother ever, she left behind many precious memories for her grandchildren to carry with them.

Laurel could always be found participating in fundraisers anyway she could. She always was the “go to gal” and was popular with the kiddos from selling candy bars, cookies, raffle tickets and popcorn. Her favorite one was the local Missoula radio stations “KyssMass” for kids. She looked forward to that event every year. She was always supportive of her friends and family, no matter what!

After a short unexpected illness, surrounded by her family, Heaven called their angel home on the rainy afternoon of Aug. 15, 2019. She leaves behind three children whom she was very proud of and loved to tell stories about: Melissa (Jerry) Kelly, Heidi (Brant) Pierson, Russell (Alejandra) Penner, each of whom carry a part of her with them; her five grandchildren whom she adored more than anything: Skyla andIlyana, Tyler, Axel and Olivia, who all made precious memories with her; her brothers Jeff (Lori) Denton, Ron Denton and Mike Denton; her partner in life Larry Penner; several cousins, nieces, and nephews.

She reunited in death with her parents Ralph and Ruth, cruising through the pearly gates in a Corvette with her brother Barry, welcomed with open arms by numerous other family members. She left a lasting mark on all those she met and is deeply missed. Her spirit will forever be a part of everyone she loved.

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