Suzi Pengilly, 62, of Greenbank, Whidbey Island, Wash., died on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in her home. She was with her loving husband, Craig Holmquist, and her beloved pets. She was cared for throughout her treatment for pancreatic cancer by Craig, her daughter, Molly, and Craig’s daughter, Heidi, at her cozy home, lovingly referred to as Aqua View Oasis.
Suzi will be most remembered for her fiercely loving heart and great sense of humor. Her infectious laugh was easily recognized before she was in sight.
Suzi was born to Faye and John Pengilly in Halfway, Ore., on Oct. 5, 1957. She had two older brothers, Jay and Pete. She had a very happy childhood in Boise, Idaho, living it up at the Boise Downtowner Motel, which her father owned, and being teased and protected by her older brothers. She was incredibly close to her mother and adored/was adored by her father.
Suzi graduated from Boise High School in 1975 and started college at University of Oregon in Eugene. She then spent a year studying at Universidad del Oñate in the Basque region of Spain before moving home to Boise and beginning to work on archeological digs with her brother, Pete. Suzi earned an undergraduate degree in anthropology from Boise State University in the 1980s and master’s degree in history from the same in 1998.
Suzi met her first husband, Kevin Neitzel, and his four-year-old daughter, Molly, in 1983. They were married in 1984. Suzi adopted Molly on July 31, 1987 and gave birth to daughter, Anna Melissa Neitzel, on Aug. 7 of the same year. Suzi was an incredible mom, raising two girls who were strong in spirit and will, funny, and loving. She was also an incredible daughter who moved in with her mom, Faye, caring for her and making her laugh until her final days.
Suzi had a distinguished career as an archeologist, historian, and the deputy state historic preservation officer for the Idaho State Historical Society. Suzi’s expertise was much respected throughout the Pacific Northwest cultural resource community. Throughout her career she was an unabashed promoter of Idaho, using historic preservation as a platform, and earning herself the nickname “Miss Idaho.” She was an outstanding writer and editor, and lover of historical non-fiction (she was even in a non-fiction bookclub on Whidbey). She was a knowledgeable expert on NHPA preservation regulations (which she was very proud of), and parts of the Oregon Trail, Lewis & Clark Trail, and tribal history in the Rocky Mountain region.
After a 30-year career in historic preservation and her marriage to Craig, in 2010, Suzi retired to help care for her first-born granddaughter and settle in on Aqua View Way with Craig and his mom in 2013. She worked for and belonged to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island from 2015 to 2019. She was a self-proclaimed “home body” with unparalleled devotion to her family, friends, colleagues, and history. Suzi loved Whidbey beach walks, and to garden and quilt — canning and sharing the riches from her garden and making many special quilts for her loved ones over the last several years.
Our hearts are broken. She is gone too soon, and we all miss her so much!
Suzi is survived by her husband, Craig Holmquist; daughter, Molly Moon Neitzel, and her husband, Zack Reinig; Craig’s children, Andrea, Heidi, and Austin; two beloved grandchildren, February Moon Reinig and Odessa Moon Reinig; her brothers and their wives, Jay and Mimi Pengilly, of Moscow, Idaho, and Pete and Dena Pengilly, of Boise Idaho; her nieces and nephews, Marie Pengilly Schmidt and Andy Schmidt, and a brand new grand-nephew, Luca Schmidt; Max Pengilly; Joe Pengilly; and Margo Pengilly.
She is preceded in death by her youngest daughter, Anna Melissa Neitzel.
The family extends profound appreciation to the nurses and teams at the Kaiser Chemotherapy Infusion Center, in particular Lori LaFemina; Whidbey Home Health; and Whidbey Hospice.
A memorial service will be held 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island. A celebration of life for Boise friends and family will be held in March 2020. Memorial donations can be made in Suzi’s name to the Anna Banana Milk Fund at mollymoon.org/milkfund. A donation will be made from the Anna Banana Milk Fund to Ryan’s House on Whidbey Island.