Stephen Robert Pentlen, aka Poppy, PopPop, Sarge, moved on to his next adventure on May 14, 2019. He lived a life full of laughter and love surrounded by his close-knit family and myriad of friends. He will be missed terribly by his wife of forty-four years, Barbara, his daughters Sara Roth (Alex) and Stephanie Dague (Harris), his grandchildren Charlie, Farrah, Logan, and Max, his surrogate grandchildren Sheri, Chelsea, Ryan, and Jessica Griffin, and all those who knew him. He is survived by his sisters Jessica Guiney (John) and Carolyn Pittenger, and the men he considered brothers - Lincoln Page, Scott Griffin, Peter Edelman and Don Delmanzo.
The story of Poppy, while better told over a cold beer on the deck of his home overlooking the Mohawk River, is full of adventure, service, and generosity. Raised from humble roots in Tupper Lake, NY, Poppy would be the first to tell you he lived a full life. He served his country with distinction as an infantry combat leader stationed in southern Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star. Upon returning from the war, he completed his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University. His many occupations included traveling the world as a U.S. sky marshal, working as an air traffic controller, starting a contracting company with a friend, Bob Grimmick, and educating inmates at Mount McGregor and Hudson Correctional Facilities.
But all of these adventures were merely a prelude for what Poppy would always describe as his most important job: raising his family and supporting his friends and neighbors. He raised his daughters Sara and Stephanie with infinite love and completely adored his four grandchildren. When Poppy’s oldest grandson was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he dropped everything and built an accessible house next-door to his own. If you were looking for Poppy, odds were he could be found with his grandchildren - playing on the floor, on an adventure, doing puzzles, telling stories, dancing, or laughing.
To be Poppy’s friend was to be his family. To be his family was to experience unconditional generosity and love at every turn. If you were close he called you his son, if you were a stranger he offered you a beer, shared a story, and made you a friend. If you asked advice on a project - you gained a work partner. If you needed support - you gained a staunch ally. If you needed a shoulder to cry on - you got two and a pep talk. Poppy served his friends like he served his country and family - with distinction, honor and generosity.
Although taken from us all too soon - Poppy left this world with as much bravery as he lived his life. He also left us with clear instructions: “Take care of my family, I love you all.”
In lieu of flowers Poppy would have very much appreciated a donation to CureCMD in his honor. Donations can be made at www.curecmd.org .
Calling hours will be Thursday May 23, 2019 from 5-8PM at New Comer Cremations & Funerals located at 181 Troy Schenectady Rd, Watervliet, NY 12189. Military service will be held on Friday May 24, 2019 at 11AM at Saratoga National Cemetery, 200 Duell Rd, Schuylerville, NY 12871. A memorial luncheon will follow at The Fairways of Halfmoon, 17 Johnson Rd, Mechanicville, NY 12118 from 12-2PM.