On November 15, 1957, Rosetta “Zetta” Olethea Harmon Penny was born to Rosa Washington Harmon and Willie Dozier Harmon, Sr., in Berkeley County, South Carolina. Rosetta peacefully transitioned from this life, that she enjoyed to the fullest, on Friday October 30, 2020.
Rosetta received her education through the Berkeley County School System. She is a Graduate of the “Class of 1975” where she served in many organizations, while being honored with the Senior Superlative for “Best Personality”. In August 1975, she attended Columbia Community College where she received her Associate Degree in Business Management. After graduation, she worked as an Administrative Assistant from April 1977- June 1981 at the Richland County Solicitor’s Office, where she clerked for then solicitor, Dick Harpootlian.
Rosetta had a strong passion and love for children, which led her to open and run an in-home daycare center from 1985-1990. The community she created with parents and young children during these years is still active and growing decades later. In 1990, Rosetta decided that it was time to further her education and set an example for her children and family by attending the University of South Carolina (USC). She remained on the Dean’s List all four years and graduated Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s of Arts in English in 1994. Rosetta was the subject of the Spring commencement speech given by then Governor Carroll Campbell, the speech highlighted the perseverance of her parents and the numerous obstacles they overcame in raising Rosetta and her nine siblings.
She continued her graduate studies at USC, and in 1996, received her Master’s Degree in Social Work. She began a nearly-30 year career serving children and families as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Rosetta was employed by the Department of Social Services from June 1996-February 1999, and the Department of Mental Health William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute from February 1999-August 2004. Rosetta’s final employment began in 2004 with Richland County School District 1, Office of Special Services where she planned to retire in November.
Rosetta Olethea Harmon Penny lived life to the fullest, y’all! She knew her neighbors and was a fixture on the block through her daily walks. She enjoyed gardening, traveling, activism, yoga, Zumba, completing marathons, half-marathons, and 5-Ks, participating and volunteering in the local arts community, taking in beach sunrises, hiking in the Appalachian mountains, meandering along the local swamp boardwalks, dancing to reggae music, figure modeling, and spending time with family--especially her grandchildren. She was committed to ensuring that children and youth with complex medical needs and developmental disabilities could celebrate full lives too. She organized and facilitated a range of programs for her students, such as the Special Needs Day Prom, complete with red carpet, now its 12th year.
Rosetta was preceded in death by her father, Willie Harmon, Sr; her sister, Doretha Harmon; her brothers, Malachi, Henry Lee, Leland, and Melvin Harmon; her beloved grandmother, Elsie Lee Washington; and her dearest aunt, Marvie Goodman.
Rosetta’s life will be cherished by her three children Saleem Hue Penny (Katie Gunter) of Chicago, Il., Micah Hue Penny of Atlanta GA, and Major Rachel Loraine Penny of Fort Hood, TX; her four sweet grandchildren, Rosa, Richard, August, and Elsie Penny; her mother Rosa Harmon; her siblings Curtis (Lula Mae) Harmon, Dorothy (Milton) Felder, Willie Harmon Jr, Evelyn Harmon, Clara (James) Ravenell, and Ricky Harmon as well as a host of relatives, friends, co-workers and students.
********* [11/10/2020 UPDATED] *********
Friends and Family,
Rosetta Penny’s Celebration of Life WILL occur THIS Saturday, November 14th, (1-4pm) at 1003 Suber St.
On Friday, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control reported the highest COVID spike since the July 2020 peak, with over 1,600 new cases in a single day. For this reason, the family has a number of COVID safeguards in place for guests: temperature checks, staggered/time entry, social distancing, mobile hand washing stations, as well as cell phone collection for post-event contact tracing.
Guests following these practices will help meet Rosetta’s frequent request that “No one gets sick, coming to celebrate my life.”
In lieu of flowers, food, or cards, please support Rosetta Penny’s medically fragile and special education students by purchasing items from the forthcoming Amazon wish list. Items on the list have been requested by families and social workers in the Richland School District One, Office of Special Services.
Starting NEXT Friday November 20th, simply visit https://bit.ly/RosettaTribute to access the Amazon wish list.
Thanks for your support, the family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ms. Rosetta Penny, please visit our floral store.