Penelope "Penney" Ann (Hoiles) Oncken passed away peacefully on March 2, 2022 with family by her side, in her home in Missoula, Montana.
Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 9, 1946, she was the second daughter of Barbara and Harry Hoiles. She moved several times over the course of her life, settling in Missoula in 1988. Soon after, she began to raise Tennessee Walking horses. Her passion for horseback riding, nurtured since childhood, led her to become a decorated rider at annual competitions and events. Along with her passion for horses, she also cared deeply for other animals which inspired her charitable and volunteer focus for many years and until her passing. Her prominent work with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation helped with the acquisition of much needed land for wildlife preservation in Montana and throughout the country. Another organization close to her heart was the Humane Society of Western Montana, where she volunteered personally and contributed financially. Recently, she helped this organization with the purchase of a mobile veterinary service van that has photos of Penney’s own critters on display.
Penney's passion for helping others went beyond the care and protection of animals. She worked closely with St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula to enable the important remodeling and expansion of two divisions, increasing the number of beds significantly in both. Among other local nonprofits, Penney contributed to the Missoula Children’s Theater as she always like to see children smile. Penney preferred to remain anonymous, never really in want of the spotlight around her contributions. The impact of her work with animals and for people will continue to be felt for many decades to come.
Throughout her life Penney was an avid art collector, primarily of wildlife art, supporting and encouraging many local Montanan as well as other nationally known artists. Her home was always beautifully decorated. Tucked here and there were needlework pieces created by her mother, daughters, and herself. Her favorite times of the year were the holidays, especially Christmas and Thanksgiving. It would take days to put out all the ornaments and decorations, and weeks to take them down as she never wanted to put them away. Above all, what truly made Penney feel at home was to be surrounded by her family and her multiple pets.
Penney is survived by her children: Martha (Oncken) Underwood, Holly Oncken and Scott Oncken; her grandchildren, Nicolas, Archer, Ezra, and Naomi; her siblings, Pamela Hoiles and Timothy Hoiles, and their families. She is predeceased by her daughter Elizabeth Tompkins; her parents, Barbara and Harry Hoiles; and her niece, Sarah Hoiles.
Penney will be missed by her family and all who knew her. In following with her wishes, an intimate family gathering will be held to remember her. In lieu of flowers, it was Penney’s request that contributions be made to:
Humane Society of Western Montana
Missoula MT 59804